Spring break: that holiday week that sprints by at lightning speed. The kids sleep in a little and then watch cartoons till mid or late morning. All the worries of teachers’ expectations, homework and schedules go into the garbage (for a time).
This Spring break week started out lazy, lovely and carefree, but then my son Christian got sick. Who gets sick during Spring break?? Isn't there a law against that? Either way, ‘sick’ is definitely NOT supposed to happen during spring break!
I live for these breaks in my ‘mom’ routine; the repetitiveness of each day and the stress of school; the schedule and the rushing, the homework and all the pressure from my kids’ overachieving school.
**side vent: I definitely was NOT required to learn to read in kindergarten. I didn’t do fractions until nearly the end of elementary school and neither algebra nor geometry existed until middle school. In spite of all that, somehow I grew up to become a well(ish) adjusted, intelligent adult with a college degree. These days, little kindergartners are being required to read proficiently plus add and subtract. Just last year those little guys were playing in the dirt and finger painting and that was considered leaning. My poor Sofia…so-much-pressure! Oh how I love school holidays!
So, when sickness shamefully skulked its way into our home this week, I found myself wandering though the stages of grief (some of them). Seriously! I grieved but just a bit out of order. I started out angry because I’m always a little angry (it’s a personal problem), then, of course, came the denial. After that I went back to anger (a few times), but I skipped right over the bargaining stage altogether. I think maybe I felt a touch of depression, but I never quite made it all the way to acceptance, because this morning I woke up to my man-sized son feeling well! Not 100% well, but very much improved.
Christian feeling better means that this Smith family will be able to do Spring break right! Starting tonight, we’ll be gallivanting off to one of my very favorite places in the whole U.S.; Whidbey Island. Whidbey’s this enchanted place. It’s a magically, beautiful island, not tropical like I used to imagine all islands to be, but forested with evergreens. On all sides of the island, the lush, dense, dark green forest grows nearly to the water’s edge. Bald eagles nest in the tress and orcas swim off shore. It’s just majestic!
And the towns…they’re so charming! No one would ever blame them for being tacky or uncultured because they’re out in the middle of nowhere, but somehow they're not! They have quaint, historic main streets with cheery updated store fronts. There are wineries, bakeries, coffee shops and book stores. There are elegant restaurants that serve the loveliest clams swimming (well…more drowning) in delectable sauces. I eat and swoon and then wake to an urge to lick every last drip from the bottom of the serving bowl. (I wouldn't actually lick the bowl (in public) because that would be awkward. I just kind of wish I could.)
The most wonderful part of it all; we’re going to stay in a beach “house” for 3 whole nights! We found this place online. It’s RIGHT ON THE WATER! We’ll be fishing and digging for clams from the front yard of this place. I use the word "house" loosely because from the pictures, it seriously looks like a shack! It has some charm but it’s clearly rustic. Even if it ends up being a total dive, it’ll be an amazing time!
You see, I’m actually good with shacks. I spent nearly every weekend of my childhood, plus much of my adulthood at my family’s shack/cabin (literally!) in Lake Arrowhead (CA). It was, and still is, old and rickety but I loved it there. Every one of those visits is now a precious and priceless memory for me. Many of my family’s escapades were actually hair-raising adventures. Some weekends were relaxing, but my family didn’t really major in relaxation. My hope is that this weekend will be a mix of adventure and leisure.
My very first stay on the Whidbey included 4 generations. Adam’s grandparents rented an actual house (on the water) for the whole family to share for a week. It was so long ago that we didn’t have Sofia or Nyla yet. We were parents to only 2 kids and our family looked entirely different. I have an amazing photograph of Christian running through sprinklers in his underwear; not a care in the world.
On a different day we walked through an outdoor market where one of the booths had unusual looking live chickens for kids to pet. I hadn’t believed that a chicken could look exotic until that very moment. Christian was completely enamored by those birds. He was probably around 3 years old and his hair was still white-blonde. It stuck up in odd places because he didn’t want us to style it (he still doesn’t). I have a picture of Christian next to this crazy looking chicken and it was like Christian had found his hair double.
For me, that island is where beautiful memories are born. Us Smith’s, we’re off to make some good ones!
Writer and fellow traveler on the road of life.