Easter has come and gone. The lonely leftover Peeps continue to haunt me at the supermarket with their beady little eyes and fluffy, gelatnous, toxic colored bodies standing at attention from behind their boxed prisons. The amassed leftover chocolate eggs and bunnies dutifully lie on the markdown table. Easter is quick and painless. Get in, feed your chocolate fix and get out.
Passover, however, continues to linger on (today is the last day, yipee) eventhough the grocery stores pretty much write the holiday off after day 3. The Passover aisle is nothing but a shelf with an errant box of matzah or a lonely cake mix hanging about looking to make a comeback.
Passover is like the little engine/holiday that could. We start out with a bang surrounded by family and friends and food that is different, but as the week drags on, and the matzah builds in our bodies, and the guests just keep a comin, we peeter out. Children are bickering, husbands are grumpy, and wives, (and I do include myself in this category) are pretty darn cranky.
The inspiring, “I think I can, I think I can” has reverted to, “I just don’t care, I just don’t care, I just don’t care.” Then, in a last ditch effort, we haul ourselves to the top of the proverbial Passover mountain, huffing and puffing, bloated and irritated, and below in the valley of the leavened, there is a big bowl of oatmeal waiting for us (yes, that’s what I want) and school is back in session, and suddenly we are happy again. We find peace and solace because we can go to the grocery store and buy cereal and bread for all the “good” little boys and girls who only complain that they can’t eat Cheerios. Okay, so it’s a revisionist tale, not exactly like the childhood story we grew up on. Work with me.
See, we really do tend to repeat history. My children would have fit in perfectly with the Israelites who complained in the desert. The only difference is my son would have whined that there was no Wii. However, I don’t think Moses would have lost his cool by yelling the way I did the other day,nor do I think he would have challenged the Israelites by screeching, “ARE YOU ENJOYING MOMMY’S TANTRUM? BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE SOUNDED LIKE ALL WEEK!”
Nonetheless, the repercussions of Passover go beyond tantrums because today my friends, I broke the cardinal rule. No, I didn’t go out and indulge in a sandwich, nor did I eat pizza because technically, Passover aint over until the sun goes down. No, I did something far, far worse, more egregious than eating leavened bread. Today…I…and I’m embarrassed to admit this-stepped on the scale. Yes, I did.
I hear your groans of indignation, “Oh no you didn’t.” I hear the horror in your voices and I see all of my sisters gravely shaking their heads as they mutter, “Why, why why?” “Oh, the inhumanity.” Every woman knows the 11th commandment, THOU SHALT NEVER, NEVER GET ON THE SCALE AFTER, (A.)DELIVERY (B.)THE EIGHT DAY CARB FEST KNOWN AS PASSOVER. Apparently, one needs to Pass- over the scale. Truth be told, I am a glutton for punishment, because, I broke both A&B of this commandment. I did weigh myself after delivery and it wasn’t pretty. I don’t know what I was thinking. It was like some unknown force, some rush of hormones that made me do it that fateful day 6 years ago. I was a tempest at best. My husband didn’t know what to do with me. He begged me, pleaded, and prostrated himself over the scale…”For the love of God, don’t do it Rachel!” I ignored his pleas. I nursed the baby to get rid of the extra weight, took off my milk-stained sweatshirt that I hadn’t changed in 5 days and proceeded to approach the scale.
Truth is, I needed some tough love, then and now. See, the scale weighing is the portal to normalcy. It re-sets my bad habits. Now, I wasn’t horrible this past Passover. In fact, I made a concerted effort to eat healthfully. I bought tons of produce, low fat cheese, quinoa, and lean protein, and for the most part, I stuck to it. My workouts were not neglected, but they weren’t all out, push myself to the limit sessions either, mainly because I was tired from all the preparation and cooking.
No, just like with off holiday situations, it’s stress that triggers my downfall. While I enjoyed the company of friends at my girlfriends home for second seder, I was so stressed because my egg and nut allergic son was sitting next to a child who was basically covered in both allergens. Egg yolks littered his table space, and he wiped some other lethal food- stuffs on his clothes. It’s hard to explain to a child who doesn’t understand food allergies that he can’t play with his guest, because, well…he could kill him. All it takes is a mere pinhead size of nut protein to enter Ari’s system for him to stop breathing. My husband and I played human shield all night, my blood pressure was exploding, and my cortisol levels were through the roof, and I took my frustration out on chocolate brownies and any other chocolate item on the table. Of course, this vortex of chocolate sucks you in sending you into a deep, dark, down spiral. It took at least a day or two to claw my way out of that one.
I returned to my pristine eating habits until…The Matzo Brei Fry party. I am grateful that this cherished tradition thrown by my girlfriend isdone so at the end of the holiday. Basically, it is a Passover junkyard, where everyone brings whatever they want to get rid of. The festivities linger over bowls of matzo brei, wine, leftover chocolate, chips, cookies, matzo, brownies etc… We laugh, we cry and we eat. I usually do well for the first hour or two, then…madness. I come home and immediately hop on the elliptical feeling like a fraud. The readout tells me I burned 400 calories, but who am kidding, I know the damage has already been done.
So, here I am, a survivor on the eighth day. I faced my demons and got on the scale…not horrible, but not reflective of any pristine eating habits either. I pick myself up, dust the crumbs of matzah off, and return to the land of cleaner eating. The sudden and unpredictable heatwave only added more insult to injury by signallling the start of bare leg/bathing suit season. I don’t expect to be a bikini model tomorrow or ever, but I am nevertheless motivated to set some new goals while thankful that there aren’t any more eight day holidays for a while.