Eventually my Mom would declare the kitchen "finished" and we would all assemble in the living room to prepare for Bedikat Chametz (searching for chametz) just before midnight. By this point, my mother was so exhausted and so eager to get the kids to bed that she would urge my father to "stop with the narishkeit already and just go play ghost". As my father wandered around the dark house clutching a lit candle and looking for the 10 pieces of bread that we had hid moments earlier, my mother would mutter darkly under her breath. The moment the ceremony was over, we were rushed off to bed.
My siblings and I never viewed these proceedings as being unpleasant or traumatic. We thought the whole process was funny, and sometimes we would lay bets as to how long it would take before my mother started threatening my father with a dishwater bath. Now as adults, all 5 of us still refer to Bedikat Chametz as "playing ghost". I thought of my parents last night as I watched Flash lead his sisters around the house looking for the 10 pieces of bread. As they came downstairs, Supermangirl excitedly announced "Ma, we did really great this year! We found eleven pieces of bread!" Flash shook his head in exasperation (apparently the girls had hidden 11 pieces instead of the required 10) but all I thought was "a new generation, but still the same old chaos".
I hope you all enjoyed playing ghost in your houses, and that you and your families are able to leave the chaos of preparation behind and enjoy a peaceful and stress-free holiday.