Most things in life fall into the following category: “Neither as bad nor as good as you expected.”
This is true for haircuts, Army assignments, New Year’s Eve, and pretty much everything else (except perhaps for such momentous occasions as your wedding day or the birth of a child.) Spring break — for us — also would apply. As I write this, spring break is nearly over and I’m trying to decide if it was a good week.
It certainly did not start well for me. That Sunday night, I got horribly, epically sick, lasting until late afternoon Monday. This stomach bug was so virulent, I could barely get out of bed, and my poor innards refused to keep even a drop of water down.
I called weak instructions to my boys from time to time throughout the day (which they probably ignored) and basically wallowed in my misery until it finally passed. Not sure what (or if) my kids ate that day — I couldn’t even look at food, much less make a meal.
Tuesday, I still felt shaky but we needed groceries, and I had an interview to conduct for an upcoming article. The day mostly passed in a blur of wanting to lie down but at least I was vertical.
At this point of the week, I recalled the ambitious spring break plans I had made for us: Go through the toys in the 8-year-old’s room that are broken, missing crucial parts or no longer played with. Take both boys on stimulating day trips. Go running with my older son, who needs to stay in shape for track practice. There were more but suffice it to say I was being a tad optimistic when I made the list.
Wednesday, my youngest was invited to a sleepover so that evening, I thought the big boy and I could do some serious bonding. I anticipated taking him shopping for new running shoes, possibly seeing that Kevin Costner movie about the underdog cross-country team, followed by a deep conversation at his favorite restaurant.
Well, 1 out of 3 ain’t bad. We got a late start and decided to eat first. Ryan, not surprisingly, chose Genghis Grill because he loves the beef and broccoli bowl (no matter that his ratio is four parts beef, one part broccoli). Being quite hungry, he got in line immediately to assemble his dinner, and so was already eating while I was still in line putting my sweet and sour pork bowl together. So much for that heart-to-heart chat I was hoping for.
And then technology reared its ugly head once again. There was a small electronic tablet on each table offering tempting trivia-type games. We assumed this was a freebie until the waiter kindly stopped and mentioned that each game cost 25 cents. At that point we had played eight games already — whoopsie.
After dinner, Ryan got his hair cut at one of those male “full-service salons” that are decorated to look like a boxing ring. He ended up with the same basic haircut he always gets only it cost three times as much — and they asked if he’d like hot towels (which he declined).
Thursday, after much back and forth texting with my friend — who has three boys and was in desperate need of an outdoor activity for them — we decided to check out Mother Neff State Park. I’ve been wanting to visit this place ever since we moved to Fort Hood. After throwing a bunch of sandwiches and snacks together, we plugged the coordinates into our GPS devices and headed off.
My friend and I convoyed in separate vehicles toward Moody, ending up at a small airport once before recalculating and finally finding the park. It was prettier than we anticipated — lush and green with these delicate, lacy-looking trees. We released the five boys and explored several different paths including one that led to a tower, which they loved and another that featured a cave-like structure.
The trouble came when they ran off on their own and we kind of lost them for about 30 minutes. Who knew five kids could be so quiet? Knowing there were two 13-year-olds in the group eased our minds though images of “The Lord of the Flies” kept popping up in my head. But we soon heard their laughter and found our muddy offspring. The afternoon ended with waffle cones at TCBY’s on the way home — definitely a tasty way to top off the day.
Friday both boys had a birthday party to attend followed by a sleepover at the birthday boy’s house a few hours later. At first the silence was deafening but as I settled in for some mindlessly satisfying channel-surfing, I realized how nice it was to be alone for a while. Well, except for the dog.
Overall, I’d say spring break was a success — it’s true I didn’t get to the decluttering or the jogging, but we all got to sleep in and goof off a little, the boys spent a lot of time with friends, and Mom got a night to herself.