Spring Break is nigh upon us here in Kanawha County; you should see how hopped up my little ones are at the prospect of a whole week with NO SCHOOL! (YAYYYYYY!!!!!) Talk amongst my friends, lately, is basically of the “What are your plans for the break?” variety. Some people have already started updating their Facebook pages from exotic beaches where the weather, incidentally, seems to be “PER-FECT!!”
Spring, as they say, has sprung.
Today, a friend of mine, whose own children are grown, texted to ask if I were planning on taking the kids anywhere.
“To an indoor water park. In Ohio,” I texted back. And then, as an afterthought, “I’m thrilled.”
Relaying sarcasm via text message can be difficult. What I should have said was that I wasn’t REALLY very excited about spending two of my hard-earned vacation days with a million wet, spring-fevered children in a steamy, germy waterslide warehouse in the flatlands of my home state. But, it’s hard to text that while you’re driving.
Still, my friend must have gathered the tone of my text. He quickly replied- dare I say- somewhat condescendingly, “The kids will have fun. That’s what it’s all about.”
I stared at my phone. I couldn’t believe it- at last, someone was willing to answer all of my angst-y, existential questions about purpose and meaning and… you know, life. This man was willing to say, definitively, what it is ALL about. “I’m finally getting somewhere,” I thought.
But, wait! Suddenly, I felt let down. I mean, that’s what it’s all about?! Kids having fun? Whose kids- just mine? Or all kids, everywhere? And, did he, in fact, mean “all”, as ineverything? Or, was he not actually giving me the secret to the meaning of life? Perhaps he simply meant “all” as in Spring Break? “Spring Break is all about the kids having fun.” Or, even, maybe just that family trips are all about the kids having fun. Who knew?
But, even if he were referring just to the break, just when did it become all about them? Don’t kids have something called “Summer Vacation” that is- if not all- then a lot about them? And, oh… I dunno, maybe, a crazy little holiday tradition called Christmas Morning? And, I mean- Jeez- what about Saturdays– like, all of them???
No wonder there’s so much parental guilt floating around out there: how can we, as parents, make sure our kids’ have as much fun as they’re supposed to and still get them to follow their 75 lb. puppy around the backyard with a rake and a shovel? (Um… I meant to say “make their beds”. How can we get them to make their beds…) Aren’t parents, by their very nature, supposed to be something of a buzz-kill? But, now it turns out we’re supposed to be their Julie McCoy, too? “Another indistinguishable, overpriced 3-D movie will be shown on the Lido Deck starting in 10 minutes, everyone! Also, tonight’s buffet will feature Air Head Extremes, Sour Patch Kids, and Nerd Ropes!”
C’mon, world! We, moms and dads, can’t be everything to everyone; that’s what grandparents are for. As parents, we’re too busy readying these smaller people to be independent. I mean, look what all the fun and kid-centered stuff did to Generation X! (Darn slackers.) So, in the interest of teaching our children the new (again) and oh-so-important “it’s actually NOT all about you” lesson, I propose we take back Spring Break! No more Disney! No more Nickelodeon cruises! No more Great Wolf Lodge!
Someone pour me a red eye and get me a cab to the airport: I’m going to Vegas!
(This post was originally published on the Charleston Daily Mail’s Mommyhood blog.)