Spring Break 2014 pales in comparison to past years’ recollection. In college, it was the grand annual trip to Florida to join revelers on the beach. In our early married years, there was no such thing as a “Spring Break”; real adults know that these sorts of week-long pauses in life are mere diversions and distract us from what’s important-work. But then, kids came along–and I quit my job–and we had no good reason not to take a 4 or 5 day interruption from ordinary life to explore the world around us. We’ve built snow forts, hiked to glacier viewpoints, and dined on halibut cheeks; we’ve toured battlefield hospitals, climbed on cannons and listened to Ken Burns’ rendition of period music; we’ve crossed a bridge, listened for the shot heard round the world, slowly walked the Freedom Trail and stood mesmerized at a Rube-Goldberg Machine; we’ve hunted ghosts, spotted jack-a-lopes, discovered hieroglyphs (or were they pictographs?), and imagined life in a cave dwelling; we’ve made a date with a mouse, pretended we lived on Main Street, America, stood in line to hug a princess and wished upon a star; we’ve shopped till we dropped, rode an indoor ferris wheel accompanied by stuffed animals, enjoyed afternoon tea with a doll and took a carriage ride in a park. We’ve rested our bodies in tents, motels, hotels, couches of friends, Bed and Breakfasts, cabins, my childhood bedroom and even the trusty Suburban when a midnight sun meant no slumber for the baby.
In all of it–the planning, scheming, exploring; arguing, fighting and laughing–Spring Break became this Big Thing that had to be Something because it was such a radical departure from day-to-day life. When I asked others, “What are you doing for Spring Break?” back then, I was shocked when some would honestly confess, “Nothin’ much.” But today, I see great wisdom in this answer. Spring Break can be a wonderfully intentional occasion to drink in new, unexplored territory AND Spring Break can be a wonderfully intentional occasion to simply stop and be.
This year, 2014, the Rietkerk family hasn’t done much planning or scheming for Spring Break. In fact, we’ve done little more than find out movie times, schedule a mid-afternoon break to Sonic Drive-In and taken a leisurely afternoon visit to the NC Zoo. I have to admit: I miss the exciting Big Thing that some years have offered us. But this year, it’s just fine to pause on page 192 of a classic book, wear PJs until noon, flip through old photo albums and play family basketball (yes, even Mom).