Dear Shaina,

My fish didn’t smell that bad this year; did it? I think it turned out to be my best yet. You even ate some! There is not a piece of gefilte fish left. I am so glad we downsized this year—only eighteen guests. It turned out to be the perfect number…and chai, too. The morning after the Seder gets a little harder each year—all those dishes and pots and pans and matzah crumbs invading every corner of the house—but when all the literal dust settles and the afterglow of moments and memories rise to the surface, I am ready to do it again—with your help, of course.

I am in awe of your cooking and your ease in the kitchen. Those amazing vegetarian dishes you made gave our Seder a new twist with a little spice and Asian flavor. I am comforted to know that when I really can’t do this anymore, our Seders will be in good hands…even though the menu may deviate a bit from the traditional brisket, chicken, kugel standards. Your Thai cucumber salad has just been elevated to a new Passover tradition.

This year we started celebrating early because the cousins arrived over the weekend right before Passover…and, well, you have to eat! With all the crazy Passover prep and cooking, I needed an easy Saturday night meal that would satisfy everyone without being labor intensive or bearing resemblance to anything remotely Passover-like in flavor, texture or substance. I decided on fajitas. I had actually never made fajitas in my life, but it seemed like a good idea—lots of veggie options, easy to prepare—and flour tortillas seemed to be a good last chametz to indulge in before the holiday.

The fajitas were such a hit that they may become part of a new pre-Passover tradition and would certainly work just as well for a post-Passover tradition. Leftover chicken and brisket with some additional fajita spices seems like the perfect meal with which to end Passover.

Shaina, each time you come home from whatever adventure you are currently on, I have this experience of reacquainting myself with an old familiar friend who has evolved into a subtly altered and more distinctly illuminated being, who is increasingly settled and at home in her body and soul. The ultimate reward of parenting is to continue to meet your child as they grow into the person that destiny, circumstance and choice have led them to become…and to be wowed each time! I love being with you, learning about your life and being in the moment with you…even in the kitchen…especially in the kitchen!

You will soon be returning to Israel. I am already missing you and anticipating the next time we will meet. In the meantime, please send me all those new recipes you made so I won’t have to wait until next Passover to enjoy them.