Tonight is the first night of Passover. Flathead made a delicious brisket, and we had an abbreviated Seder, in which we tell the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery.
The most important part of a Seder, if you are a child, is the afikomen. The afikomen is a piece of matzo that is secreted out during the dinner, hidden, and then scavenged for after the meal. The child who finds the afikomen can trade it back to the leader of the Seder for a prize.
After we had cajoled Erma into trying the symbolic hard-boiled egg (“Daniel Tiger would be disappointed in you — you’ve got to try new foods, ’cause they might taste goo-ood”), I asked her if we should check the afikomen plate to see if the afikomen was still there.
“Whoa,” Erma said. “It’s gone!”
At this point, Sigourney had already disappeared from the table to play with Calico Critters.
Erma called after her sister. “Sigourney! Come quick! We have to find the big cracker!”
Together, they found the secretly hidden half piece of matzo and traded it for a chocolate coin for each of them.
“But Mom,” Erma said, her eyes wide, “how did the offyomen get hidden? Who hid it?” She looked around the room for the magician who had sneaked off with the afikomen.
I moved in front of Erma. “You’re looking at her,” I told her.
“Who?” she repeated, bewildered. She contorted herself to look behind me, where the magician was surely standing.
“YOU hid the afficoffee?!?” She was astonished.
Apparently, Erma did not know that her very own mother is a magician.
And I did not know how little children pay attention to their parents until I lifted the afikomen from the table, right in front of them, and hid it in a kitchen drawer.
Or, in other words, I am a magician.
I would give my pinkie toe for some chocolate covered matzo right about now.