816 North Opinion

March 25, 2014

Susan Vollenweider: What happened when spring break was sprung on this mom?

I dropped the ball. I blanked. Spring break got sprung on me.

I dropped the ball. I blanked. I (whatever you want to call it when someone forgets something) — I did that.

Spring break got sprung on me.

For clarification: our current school district doesn’t have a full, formal week of spring break. When the calendar makers plan the second semester, they dot it with several long weekends. For some it seems a weak break instead of a week break but within those extra-long weekend parameters a family who had its act together could coordinate a nice getaway.

We are not one of those families.

Yes, this

would be a terrific time to leave town, go someplace new and explore. We are between sports, the semester is still newish so final projects and concerts and all the cram-in-at-the-last-minute activities aren’t happening yet. Even on our family’s limited entertainment budget we could

have planned something for the longest weekend break if Mom had written it down on the calendar.

But Mom didn’t.

She...er, I only wrote that there was a half school day on Friday, that was it. According to Vollenweider Central the kids were back in school on Monday, no time for extra fun.

I really don’t know how I missed it, but the result? A week before the super long, We Coulda Planned Somethin’ Spring Break weekend I was bragging to my out of town friends that we didn’t have a spring break to work around.

Shortly before the kids were home for four and a half days one of them asked if we could go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Monday.

“I am not taking you out of school to go to a parade. We’ll go to Snake Saturday and call the holiday celebrated.” I said with the assurance of someone who has her ducks in a row, her mind firmly made up.

The three of them snickered at me.

“Mom,” said the bravest who I cannot, upon reflection, identify because the words made my ducks all start a scramblin’ and my mind turned into chaotic mush, “we don’t have school on Monday. Or Tuesday. Almost a five day weekend.”

This is where you should hear the sound of tires breaking.

Followed by crickets chirping.

I had nothing planned except Mom business as usual. Now I had three kids staring at me for Spring Break inspiration and enlightenment. They rapidly began listing where their friends were going to be.

“Mall of America.”

“Disney World.”


“St. Louis.”

“What are we going to do, Mom?”

Excellent question.

“Roll with it,” I said.

And we did.

What did we do? We did whatever came to mind in the beautiful early days of spring. We went to a parade and ate carnival food for lunch. We poked around a small town that we hadn’t been to, and we poked around the small town where we live. We mini-golfed, we Netflixed and we baked. We played outside, hung out inside and one day we celebrated a birthday.

On the last day of our break, as the boys were reelin’ ’em in lakeside while fishing with a grandpa, Bekah and I were hours into a chick-flick day. At one point she summed it up in words only cinematic sap can inspire: “I have feelings leaking out of my eyes.”

Thinking back on the break, feelings mist up in my eyes, too. That had been the first time in months that we were home not because of illness or nasty weather. I did mess up but we rallied as a team and spontaneously sprung ourselves out of the dark winter and welcomed spring.

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