Mar 28, 2008

What happened to Spring Break?

I am a worrier. My mother is a worrier, my sister is a worrier, and I'm sure this worry gene has been handed down through the generations. I worry about lots of stuff, like if I'm ruining my children by letting them watch too much TV slash not reading scriptures often enough. I worry that the weather won't cooperate on the day I want to attend the Tulip Festival. I worry that in January 2009, whoever is sworn into the Oval Office will be unappealing and ridiculous. And this week, I am worrying about summer vacation.

Why, you ask, am I worrying about this at the end of March? Because, my friends, we have just experienced the phenomenon called Spring Break.

Spring Break used to be utterly liberating. It was a week to sleep in, relax, hang out with friends, or maybe do something exciting like go on vacation. Those were all activities that ended abruptly in 1996 because I decided to attend a college without Spring Break, and until recently my offspring were not old enough to participate. This year, however, since I'm a grown-up with a child in the school system, the responsibility of making Spring Break utterly liberating falls squarely on my shoulders.

The trouble is, all of my notions of a fabulous Spring Break have flown out the window. My children do not sleep in (and one of them doesn't sleep through the night). They never relax. All their friends are out of town or hosting relatives, thus rendering them incapable of hanging out. Vacationing is nixed, as we are saving funds and vacation days for the hypothetical move. So Spring Break at our house has been one eternally long string of non-school days with nothing to do.

I used to have more imagination than this, and more energy to entertain my children. Oh, I have tried a few things -- a trip to the library, making sugar cookies from scratch, visiting the ducks, playing at the park when it wasn't raining, meeting Dad for lunch, watching movies -- but those things only last so long before someone (read: Mom) melts down and the fun is over. Afternoons are 65 hours long, with ninja fights and the resulting injuries erupting every 15 minutes or so. The casualties add up.

Today, as the rain beat on my window and I almost suffocated from the claustrophobia of it all, a vision of summer came to my mind. Summer: the months-long Spring Break! The prospect is daunting. What on earth will keep my boys occupied for three months???? There is the promise of sunshine, of course, and swimming lessons, perhaps. There's the chance of a new house with a yard big enough for a play structure, but that means having no friends. Will the days feel endlessly long like they have this week? I worry that they will, and that we won't survive.

If summer does, however, turn out to be as rough as Spring Break, my life will be simple. My only worry will be finding the correct freeway exit for the funny farm.
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