It’s been over two years since I was teaching full time at a high school in Brooklyn. While it seems like much more than that in many ways, I still vividly recall the peaceful feeling during those week-long school breaks. Seriously: ahhhhh.
While those days are long gone for me, week-long school breaks still happen for my children — like they are right now for you NYC parents with children in public schools. Let me tell you about the one our family had in my New Jersey town this past February.
One of the great things about these school breaks is the ease it brings the boys. There’s no pressure of homework, rushing off to school, or getting to bed at a particular hour.
My children, like most their age, are thrilled to have the week off from school. At this point, they need little “dad entertainment time.” Both are happy to waste a day away on their electronics – whether its YouTube, Sporcle (one of my sons is constantly doing baseball quizzes), etc. That and some hangouts (they don’t call them playdates anymore – too mature for that. Duhhh!) and they are content.
And for the most part, I’m fine with them enjoying their vacation in this way, too. But not completely.
Both my wife and I want the boys to get outside. You know that place with the big yellow ball in the sky and the puffy white pillows in the sky? Sometimes, my children would be fine to forget about the outside for a few days.
Yet, this February week was ridiculous. Not only were gloves and hats unnecessary, but even jackets were optional a couple of days. Anyway, they needed to get outside which typically requires encouragement from my wife and I. So, my son SJ spent some time on his bike while BR played baseball (the boy is seriously baseball crazy).
They enjoyed their week off. Great. Right? Yeah, pretty much.
You see, I wanted to spend more time with them. It’s not because they need me so much. Or because I spend so little with them regularly. It’s because I’m determined to spend as much time with them while they are young, in our house, and growing up.
How many times have you heard someone whose children are all grown up say they didn’t spend enough time with their kids when they were little? If you’re like me, the answer is too many to count.
These days, I simply can’t enjoy the ease with them. It’s not an ahhhhh week for me. I’m either working or looking for work – All The Time. Anyone who works for him or herself or knows someone who does can surely empathize. Not asking for pity – just ‘splaining.
Anyway, I couldn’t spend as much time with the boys this week as I would have liked to. Yes, I saw them plenty, but I was typically on my computer trying to get work done. I didn’t have time to bond, chat or relax like I would have liked to.
However, I made sure to spend some quality time – outside of the house – with each of the boys. For BR, that meant the batting cages followed by pizza. He was swinging away, and I was giving him some instructions. Which he mostly ignored, leading me to be frustrated. Yet, we had time together to hang out, and I was happy for it.
For SJ, it meant the Lego Batman movie followed by pizza (yes, had pizza for lunch twice this week – the sacrifices I make for my children). We talked about the movie, what we would rate it, our favorite scenes, and how we would make it even better, and so on. It was a good time.
These weeks off and our time together is precious. I’m determined to not let them slip away.
A version of this first appeared on Me, Myself and Kids.