But let me start with some truth: We didn’t read a single book during spring break.
There was a time in my life, particularly following my exit from the teaching career, where I would haul out the book baggies and the activity books and cram in as much fun-ducation as possible during our school breaks.
I would make word games and laminate worksheets and plan science experiments to help enrich my sons as much as possible.
Only, this spring break, not so much.
I can’t recall a single moment where any of my children picked up a book and read a single word for the entire 10 days we were home.
We did go to the book store and pick out a few titles one afternoon and, now that we are back to school, our evening read togethers are back on the table. But, that is not at all what our spring break looked like.
In fairness, let me say that my oldest son spent the majority of his break at my parents’ house and I don’t know for certain what he did. He is an avid reader so, chances are, he made his way through something on his Kindle.
But, the paperback he’s reading (Code Talker) sat on his nightstand collecting dust while he was away and I know for sure his younger brothers didn’t crack a spine, digital or otherwise, for the duration.
So, what did they do with all of their free time if they weren’t beefing up their brain waves?
So many things.
They played outside, exploring the forest around my parents’ house and building a fort from sticks and such near the ravine that borders their 7 acres of property. They came in with dirt marks on their faces and enough soil under their nails to repot my entire window garden.
They hung out with my dad, helping him with his truck, poking around in his garage, sitting in the hot tub with him daring each other to silly challenges (who can get out and run around the house?!). They took his food bets ($5 if you can eat this whole hot pepper!), went on a fishing trip, listened to his stories, and watched Judge Judy with Mimi.
They cuddled together on the floor in my parents living room and ate dinner with the family on Easter Sunday.
At home, they hung out with friends –playing basketball and football and soccer in the street. They road bikes and they played at the park and they went on walks, even dragging our lazy dog along for a few.
They helped out in the kitchen at dinner time. And they helped themselves to raw cookie dough when I baked a few batches.
Some days we slept in, and then got up late and cooked breakfast together.
Some days we got up early, and got haircuts and dentist appointments out of the way before noon.
We watched a few movies. We played a few card games. We colored Easter eggs. And we talked about all of the things.
It was magical. And we were so happy!
I thought I’d feel guilty about not using the time more wisely, but when I sit here and think about how hard going back to school was because we had enjoyed each other so very much, I can’t muster up the guilt if I tried.
And I’m not about to.
Because, a silly movie we saw reminded me that we used our time more wisely than we have in a long time.
Easter Sunday we went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 with my parents.
I expected to laugh for most of it and, while there were a few chuckles, I didn’t actually find the film all that funny. Instead, I thought it was sad. So sad, in fact, that I couldn’t stop crying at one point and had to go into the bathroom to catch my breath. And hover near the toilet because all of the snot sucking and air gulping was making me feel barfy.
This isn’t a movie review so let me just lay out the drama for you: Toula and Ian (the couple that wed in MBFGW 1) are facing a new time in their lives –their parents are getting older right at the time that their only child, a daughter, is planning to go away to college. Toula is all up in her feelings about it as she faces her emptying nest in the midst of a bunch of other Greek family drama (including a new wedding for her parents) that was probably meant to lighten the whole thing. The whole wedding thing and the comedy of a big ethnic family was entirely lost on me because the only thing I could focus on was her daughter leaving. And how I too will be facing that reality soon and I am so not ready.
In just five years I will likely be getting dragged away driving away in my car, waving to my son as he starts an exciting new adventure he will have chosen for himself.
That’s no time at all.
Like, it took me longer than that to teach him to spell his last name, and to tie his own shoes, and to tell time on a clock with more dots than numbers.
Five years is nothing. And it will zip to now before I know it.
And then we will be applying to college and planning a life that involves him likely living somewhere I am not.
I actually had to take a break from writing this post because even thinking about it makes my throat close as the overwhelming sense of dread tingles all through my body.
There is no chance I can make it through this post without crying so bear with me if I get rambly –I’m sure you can hear my hiccoughs in my words. Because the thought of going into his room and him not being there makes me physically ill. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I go from talking to him every day, to waiting for him to call on Sundays. When I can’t walk into his room while he sleeps and make sure he is breathing. When I can’t be there to give him medicine when he’s sick. Or rub his back when he’s sad. Or find his socks for soccer.
Of course I want him to go do big exciting things where he has amazing moments of self discovery.
I want him to find himself, and learn to know himself and love himself, and become this wonderful person that I know he can be.
He deserves that experience and I think that it will make him the amazing person I know he is capable of being.
I am so overwhelmingly excited to watch him come out of his shell and do and become and live.
I so desperately want that life for him, I’m just so very afraid for myself.
Because when I think of it, when I sit on my couch and try to imagine me, living my days, without him nearby, without waiting for his bus to come, without figuring out what to give him for dinner, without putting his schedule into my calendar, I feel so incredibly sad. And so irrationally afraid. And literally every emotion a human heart and mind is capable of.
My heart just waffles back and forth between being giddy on his behalf and broken on mine.
So, excuse me while I take another break to throw up.
And feast on the only things that can make me feel better –dark chocolate pretzel thins and avoidance.
And long days filled with nothing more than moments I hope we will all cherish when our moments together become few and far between.
Besides, they can read in the summer.