Monday, April 09, 2007

Spring Break?

I now understand why parents don’t like spring break. It is no break for the parents; rather, it is a time for parents to try to figure out what the hell to do with their children to keep them from killing each other, or from being murdered by the very creatures who brought them into being. What sadistic twit came up with the phrase “spring break?” Spring torture seems more appropriate.

My house is in shambles. I have just given up and given into the clutter, crumbs and various articles of clothing that litter each room of the house. I will do laundry when they are back in school, back to work, back out of my space. Markers have taken up permanent residence on my floor, popcorn crumbs litter the only carpeted area of the downstairs—it must have a magnetic force field around it for snack food—and books and toys lie strewn about like yesterday’s newspaper.

Then there is the “I’m bored” phase that every parents remembers oh so well, because she or he muttered it ALL THE TIME when they themselves were on spring break. “Mom, I’m bored, there’s nothing to do.” If it were warmer than 30 freaking degrees outside, I could send the munchkins out to play, away from the tv, my computer and the pantry. But alas, our late winter has decided to bleed into spring. What say you, Al Gore?

Not that my children are old enough to understand the word “boredom.” Actions speak volumes for them. Endless sitting, zoned in front of the television, waiting for a new episode of Wonder Pets that the programmers at Noggin promised long ago. Walking (or crawling) to and from the pantry, looking for something besides matzah and kosher for Passover tam-tams. Crawling up and down the stairs for exercise, wondering when it will be warm enough to cut loose outside. And that’s just me.

I have tried suggesting activities or play zones, and have done my fair share of “programming” for them, setting up playdates and museum trips, only to be foiled by illness or an irrational fear of the Easter Bunny that might, gasp, look at you in the mall, and therefore constitutes an immediate exit. I even had the coping mechanism of “girls night out” but the joy of drinking wine with new friends was shadowed by the inevitable 7 a.m. shake-awake asking for milk, ‘cackers’ and ‘what are we going to do today?’

School resumes Thursday, and brings with it a litany of activities—physical therapy for one, ballet for the other, a workout for me, and the opening of a two week-long film festival for my husband which spells nothing but A-B-S-E-N-C-E from the nest for many nights in a row.

There is never a happy, built-in balance, is there? So I sit in half-lotus amid the popcorn kernals and crumbled matzah squares, staking out my piece of dirty rug. I breathe and release, breathe and release, as I have been taught to do. I let the mess pass through me. I feel it rain around my body, which is coated in silicone, so as not to absorb the crumbs or petty issues of life in the trenches. And if I try really hard, I can almost feel the sun on my face.

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