“When the meat isn’t ready they’re under my feet.
When the food’s on the table they’re far down the street.”
Danish Heritage Cookbook – 1985
They call it Spring break, but after some years of survival we call it Spring breakup. Not that it’s not nice to have them home, but it does wreak havoc on daily routines. Take this column for instance. The deadline has passed and my mind has turned to mush after just five days of the infamous “Spring break.” It
S not that we didn’t prepare – both Rosemary and myself put any special plans on hold to devote some quality time to the developing teenagers. Heck, we’re almost becoming “politically correct.” Not to worry, it probably won’t last, because with each altered thought cynicism grows.
This isn’t to suggest that Spring break, for those parents fortunate enough to survive the trauma, isn’t worth the experience. After all we were on a roll immediately previous to the short holiday. Daughter Corianne made it to the Provincial Championships in basketball, something to cheer about. In these days of uncertainty you take every small victory where you can find it.
Then it was on to soccer where our youngest, Marcus, made it to the big time in Gold League Championships for the under-twelve division. Hey, this isn’t bragging this is grasping at straws. The roll came to an abrupt end when the fifteen-year-old twins decided to test their parents’ mettle for the ten days given to them by a government that believes every teenager deserves the opportunity of freedom of speech, action and every other outrageous encounter of the third kind.
We tried, honestly, we did our best to live by the nineties code and give in to the “development of emotional security” as our so-called knowledgeable school counselors insist at every available opportunity.
We decided we would be tolerant and listen to every crazy proposal this new “informed” generation of teenagers would throw at us.
In the beginning it went very well. For the first three days we were actually civil. We did all the usual things, food on the table, washing done, house in order, bills paid – our parts so to speak. Then they surprised us when immediately they ventured out to dig the garden, wash the dog, clean the dog house and generally become perfect little gentlemen. Well, surprise, surprise, this new found maturity lasted a full day.
Imagine our astonishment when the next day we discovered they were so proud of their accomplishments that they thought they were finished in any household chores for the rest of their vacation. Where was our vacation?
It was time for a family discussion. Big mistake! Didn’t we notice how very hard they had worked for a day, the twins asked? Well, certainly we did, Mom said. But haven’t you noticed that dinner is prepared and the rest of the mundane incidentals don’t get done by some little angel that appears after you leave for school. They were not impressed! Child abuse they cried. God help us we cried.
But curiously enough they weren’t budging. Discussion over, the twins informed us it was time to move on.
Looking at each other Rosemary and I yelled some indiscernible words ending with some muttering of, “Can this 30 year marriage survive?” Now all’s well that ends well. After a slight compromise and a period of calm reflection we all came to the conclusion that we’re quite fortunate and can hardly wait to unleash these thinking, stubborn and quite persuasive young people on an unsuspecting world.
Just when we thought it was over, we observed our grandson playing in the final in his soccer division. Now that our grandchildren equal the number of our children – twelve – we savour each experience. Isn’t it nice that their parents can now take them home to straighten them out after an afternoon’s fun at their grandparents?
We are often asked if having had a dozen would we do it again. Let’s just say, thank God for small blessings, and thank Him that we are too old to make that decision. For now, we’re holding our breath, just hoping that the premature twins whom doctors gave little chance of survival keep the spirit that kept them alive and keep their parents going, constantly thinking, evaluating and deciding that it was worth the wait.
Have you noticed how the Easter Holiday has been undermined by Spring break? Gee, there I go again! You had to assume that “political correctness” couldn’t last for an entire column. But like our boys we gave it a try, and like them we just weren’t cut out for such mundane thinking.