Wednesday, February 17, 2010

February vacation week

When I was growing up, school vacation weeks usually meant family travel. Really great destinations, too. We didn’t go overseas as a family, but we went to all kinds of other wonderful places during school vacation weeks: San Francisco. Florida. Quebec City. New York City. Sea Island, Georgia.

So I feel a little bit remiss in not having any great travel plans for my children during this week of vacation, but circumstances didn’t allow it this year. My husband Rick started a new job recently and doesn’t have vacation time yet, and it turned out to be just as well that we were home-based for this February vacation week since Rick’s 91-year-old grandfather died late last week after a short and unanticipated illness.

Watching the kids, though, I can see they’re having a great vacation week even though we’re right at home. In fact, it’s possible that being at home might be adding to their appreciation of the vacation this particular week. After several days of family visiting, wakes and funeral services, we’re happy to be staying put in our own house now, and the kids don’t seem to have any shortage of things to do. Holly and a friend dragged sleds out to the hill by our house this morning; the sledding on yesterday’s thick fluffy snowfall wasn’t too successful, but the girls buried each other in small snow piles instead, and came in asking for hot chocolate, which I made; then we went to the indoor pool all afternoon. Tim shoveled snow for us this morning and played some computer games.

A friend lent us her Wii Fit Plus set for vacation week, and the kids have been having a great time with that too. Though some parents bemoan the Wii phehnomenon, I always point out that with my kids being different sexes and four years apart in age, there aren’t a great number of activities they enjoy together; Wii is one of them, and so I tend to look on it favorably. Together they’ve been exploring the many facets of Wii Fit Plus, from virtual snowball fights to virtual judo, and the sound of the two children laughing together makes me smile no matter what I’m doing.

My aunt arrived earlier today from Colorado for a short visit with us, and the kids have been having fun getting reacquainted with her after a year. Holly showed Pat her recent beading accomplishments; Tim explained to her how American Idol works (one could argue that if you’ve reached the age of 67 and recently explored the Macchu Picchu ruins, both of which are true of my aunt, you can probably live happily without having American Idol explained to you, but it was a reasonable bonding experience for the two of them). And then she told Tim she has friends at home in Colorado who competed on Amazing Race, which impressed Tim to no end. Plus she took us out to dinner at our favorite Asian restaurant, where the kids can have crab Rangoon and I can have masaman curry and Rick can have a little of everything.

So it’s shaping up to be a great vacation week with lots of happy moments despite the lack of travel. I like seeing the kids have fun around home, and I like being on a schedule where I can enjoy the time with them rather than filling their hours with childcare arrangements. There are always ways in which things might be going differently: according to some plans I ought to have a full-time job outside the house right now; according to other plans we might be traveling somewhere cool, like my family used to do with February vacation time. But for the moment, this is plenty for us. Fresh snow to sled through, a membership card at the local indoor pool; hot chocolate when we get back inside; a houseguest willing to look at the kids’ toys, my photo album, and American Idol to boot. It’s a fine vacation week.

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