The joys of children and spring break. Combined.
First Posted: 2/19/2015
I just called my 20 year-old son, inquiring about the dates of his spring break. I needed to prepare myself mentally for the onslaught of relentless hunger, neediness and stench (his) and unmitigated worry and anxiety (mine). Imagine my surprise/relief when he told me he was going elsewhere for break!
“Not to worry, Maria. My friends and I are driving to Florida! It’s going to an adventure!”
“An adventure in what? Living the life of a street urchin?”
“Listen, we decided to stop at college campuses along the way and crash for free. I need almost no money. Tell me this isn’t an insanely awesome idea.”
I took three deep breaths. He has the insane part right. I had to remind myself that this was the child who wanted to study abroad, in Tanzania, and when I asked him if he even knew where that was, he flapped his hand and replied vaguely, “I don’t know. Over yonder somewhere.”
“Nick. Put down the helium balloon. Think. Now, if you have spring break during this time, wouldn’t you assume that most colleges will also be on break? There won’t be anyone on campuses!”
“Ugh. You’re right. But! Good news! I have an alternate plan! My roommates can come home with me and we’ll go to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”
I took five deep breaths.
“What do you think this is, Enablers Unlimited? If you go to that parade, you better find a nice, comfy curb on which to lie down and spend the night. Because you, nor your village of idiots, will be staying here.”
“Don’t worry; I have an alternate plan.”
“Do any of your alternate plans include Donald Trump as your chaperone because you have no money for these shenanigans!”
I hung up and reached for the Baileys. Where did I go wrong?
My kids must secure their own loans to pay for college and a part time job is mandatory. My daughter did everything right, even receiving two degrees, and her prize is a monthly loan repayment of more than our mortgage, plus the cost of a small yacht. It saddens me, but I’m not Lady Di (despite the same sassy hairdo circa 1983) and I didn’t marry royalty. We’re just middle class worker bees and sadly, it appears in this modern-day caste system, our kids are almost penalized for their parents having two jobs, being happily married and spitting out several college-bound offspring. But, my daughter knew how to budget tightly and not plan ill-fated exertions throughout the eastern seaboard for spring break.
Conversely, my son seems to think his student loan money is neither for books nor tuition, but for beverages, entertainment and as many “vintage” T-shirts the Salvation Army can stock in his size, weekly. Ask him what he is majoring in and he replies: “Fun and games. Mostly fun.”
Ask him if his grades are adequate to be accepted into a Physicians Assistant program and he replies: “Well…what do you mean by good?” Ask him if he’s budgeting his money and he laughs and laughs and laughs and then plans a 17-hour joy ride.
I think he believes the tooth fairy may still come if he’s a good boy. I’m scared he may pull out his own incisors for Florida funding. And if that doesn’t pan out, I hear he has an alternate plan.
God help me.