Sometimes life says you just have to change up the tradition a bit.
Most Passovers, I attend a seder, sitting around a table with a group of people, overstuffing on various courses, drinking wine, singing the traditions of the seder hosts. I like the ritual, the boisterous quality of lots of talk and joyous song, the memories of childhood and Passovers past. I also cannot resist a holiday that a former partner's son nicknamed The Reading Holiday--people sitting around a table reading from a shared book that tells the story of Passover.
As a child, we would have Passover seders with extended family, scrunched into tiny Brooklyn apartments, racing around the small rooms searching for the Afikoman, often hidden in between couch cushions or inside a piano bench. The seders would last an eternity, especially the second half, post dinner, which seemed extremely unnecessary except for opening the door for Elijah, drinking more wine, and singing songs.
When I moved out to Denver, miles too far to travel for a family seder, I attended friends' seders, adopting their traditions, their song renditions, their rhythm of the holiday. Tonight, though, Passover needed to change up a bit. After several weeks of exhausting travel to conferences, followed by a trip back east to a funeral that included lots of hours in the air, airports, and on the road driving, I couldn't muster the energy to attend a seder filled with people.
But, I didn't want to go through the evening without a sense of the holiday. I wanted some type of celebration, even if it was of my own rendition. I didn't really care about reading the story, singing songs, or even all the traditional dishes (that would have taken too much preparation). Instead, I wanted the house to smell of food. So, I lit a candle, set a table with placemats, and Nan and I dined on gefilte fish with horseradish, a lemon-garlic roast chicken, asparagus, and matzo with butter (a childhood treat). With the counters in chaos, the pets prowling about, Nan and I dined happily, in pajamas, at home.