Ah spring break. Remember those days? A week off from classes, Florida, friends, and…well..fun activities. These days my spring break is referred to as spring vacation and it looks absolutely nothing like those trips I took during my college years.
Last week was my spring vacation from work. As an educator, I definitely enjoy the perks to my school schedule and spring break is one of my favorites. After the misery that is winter in CT, I’m always excited to have a week to air out the house, get outside and enjoy some sun, and recharge my brain and body for the last leg of the school year. My own children’s spring vacation did not coincide with mine and it hasn’t for several years. While I always spend a little time complaining about this (the week they are off and I’m at work is never easy to arrange), I’m secretly a little excited to have a week off from work with no kids. Oh the possibilities! I usually make a long list that includes painting a room, cleaning out closets, organizing some space in the house, getting flowers planted outside, etc. I make this list, very excitedly, every year. I promise my husband that I will definitely get these things done and he usually adds a few things to my list. He also always says, every year, “you know you won’t get any of this done” and I always say, very indignantly, “yes I will!”
Well…every year my vacation week goes something like this:
We walk the big kids up to school around 8:00. I then offer to spend the morning with the little one at pre-school. She is always asking me to volunteer in her class “like all the other moms do” so this is my chance to spend some time with her and make her day. I then take her to lunch and by the time we get home we have about ninety minutes before we need to pick up the other two from school. Do I get anything cleaned out? Do I organize something? No, of course not. I watch Disney Junior and play a few games of Candy Crush. After school pickup, our afternoon is as usual—homework, practices, lessons, dinner, baths, bed. No big deal—it’s only Monday. I had a lovely day with my children and that’s what vacation is all about.
On Tuesdays the little one spends the day at daycare. I will be kid free by 8:30. Today will be a productive day! Well, my husband decides to take a day off from work. Do we spend this day getting a room painted or any other home-related chore completed?? Nope. Like giddy teenagers on senior skip day we drop off all of our kids and spend the rest of the day at play. We go to New Haven and wander around the shops at Yale. We go out to lunch at one of New Haven’s famed pizza restaurants. We spend the afternoon laughing and talking as we drive around looking at houses that we would love to buy. One of us eventually remembers we have children and, just like that, it is school pick up time. That’s fine. It’s only Tuesday and I had a lovely day with one of my favorite people.
We walk the big kids up to school at 8:00 and I drop the little one off at pre-school at 8:45. My mother usually picks her up from pre-school along with my nephew and the two stay with her in the afternoons. Since she still has my nephew she offers to take her so I can get something done. Perfect. Then one of my stay-at-home friends texts me, excitedly, “You’re home this week?! Let’s do something!”. Well, how do I refuse time with friends? Next thing I know I have a lunch date planned with two friends and playground time with our four-year-olds. I spend the morning hours while she is at pre-school checking a few things off of my list—I make doctor appointments, pay some bills, and I dump out the contents of one of my girls’ dressers before looking at the clock. Crap. I pick the little one up from pre-school and spend the rest of the afternoon with my friends until school pickup. No big deal. I deserve to spend vacation time with my friends. The afternoon weather was gorgeous and I DID get those appointments made and bills paid.
My husband says, “you think you’re going to get this room painted today? Or anything else done around here?” as he walks out of the house. I catch the snarky tone and the “I told you so” grin on his face and I yell back “yeah” in my most annoyed voice. The little one is off to daycare and the kids are at school so today will be THE DAY. Except today was the day I had made an appointment for my car to be serviced. Since I need my car during the week and on our very busy Saturdays I always take a vacation day to get any service done. I bring the car to the dealership and I have a weird sensor issue that needs to be taken care of so they suggest that I get a ride since it will “be awhile”. Great. I call my mother and she picks me up. Does she bring me home so I can tear apart closets or paint a room? Nope. I need to get my kids signed up for summer camps and I need to go to Target to grab them each some short-sleeved shirts since my oldest had told me, in her most exasperated way, that she only had three short-sleeved shirts that fit her and there are seven days in the week. So my mother brings me to the rec department and then to Target and by now it’s lunch time so, hmmm, want to go out for lunch? Sure! We eat a leisurely meal and then it’s school/daycare pick up time. While the kids are getting homework done I sit at the kitchen table and sort through the mountain of papers and artwork that have collected there and I call myself productive. I pretend to not hear my husband when he asks me what I did today. I had some much needed quality time with my mother and, hey, the kitchen table looks fantastic!
Now I’m motivated. I find my vacation to do list buried under a mountain of clothes in my bedroom and I’m determined to get things checked off. I bring the big kids to school and drop the little one at pre-school. My mother offers to take her for the afternoon. I tell her our plan and she crumbles. She wants me to pick her up. She wants a “mommy day”. How do I resist her? How do I send her away on my last vacation day? I run around all morning getting some errands done and I spend some time in the afternoon with the little one clearing out the girls’ winter clothes from their closets and drawers. We pick up the big kids from school and, just like that, my vacation is essentially over.
When I look back on my week, I have to say, it was lovely. I spent time with my husband, my mother, my kids, and my friends. I spent a lot of time outside playing and relaxing and I squeezed in some nice outdoor runs. The kids each now have at least five short-sleeved shirts to wear and the winter clothes are out of their rooms. The bills are paid and everyone has a dentist appointment made. I’m going to call that a successful week off from work.
On Sunday night I found my to do list again, peeking out from my couch cushions. I threw it out. I have all summer to get those things done. Maybe.