As I get ready for tonight's seder, I think about all the people the empty seats.
My grandpa who used to check every label to make sure things were kosher.
My grandma who made the world's best potato latkas and was never surprised they were all gone before we sat down to eat.
My father-in-law who didn't like to speak to anyone.
My mother-in-law who love the turkey butt and was always going out to smoke.
My sister-in-law who came in like a tornado and taught my kids how to fling food across the table.
My brother-in-law (he had a stroke and is in rehab) who loved being religious once a year.
My niece who has to work and her husband who doesn't want to come without her.
But mostly I miss my mom and my dad. The first year without my mom was awful. She loved the holiday. I still see her sitting at table, glasses on, reading from the Haggadah. This is the first year without my dad. I somehow knew last year would be his last. I still prepared his favorite foods, meatballs, matzhoh balls, latkas from a mix and have the ketchup bottle ready to put on the table.
Two of the empty chairs are being filled by people very special to us, my daughter's special guy and my son's fiance. But, these two have been around for years. Still, their presence will make the holiday a little less sad. Many of our loved ones are gone but our family is growing.
Happy Passover to all who celebrate and an early Happy Easter to others.