Friday, April 2, 2010

Less is More

Spring Break - Two words which usually spark fear in my heart. I know I will need to entertain my children for a week – morning, noon and night – with no school to occupy the daytime hours. This year, I got smart; I arranged to take spring break week off from work so that I didn’t have to invest a fortune in a babysitter or camp. One year, I was even foolish enough to bring them to work with me that week. At first, I thought it was not very fair to my kids because they would be bored sitting up in my office all day. Silly me! They loved it. Six straight hours of playing on the extra computer in my office, eating junk food from the vending machine and playing the son of a co-worker who was also condemned to serving his spring break time at the office. They ran up and down the halls, visited my co-workers in their offices, shredded papers for the office manager, watched videos and ate pizza in the conference room. Not fair to my kids…actually it really wasn’t fair to my co-workers who had to endure the children invading their territory for five days straight. But my co-workers were good natured about it – to my face – I worry what they said behind their office doors or at the water cooler. But my kids had a ball. They beg to go back to the office any time school is on break.

But this spring break, even though I had taken time off, out of financial necessity and timing, we opted out of taking an expensive or even moderately priced trip somewhere and decided to have a staycation. I approached this idea with hesitation, certain that my girls would gripe. They love traveling, going to hotels, hanging out at the hotel pool. They’d much rather be on vacation than at home. But for that matter, so would I, so clearly it comes naturally to them. Instead, I planned a trip each day of spring break to somewhere in Los Angeles that they’d never been before. We went to Chinatown, the Mexican market at Olvera Street, rode the shortest railway in the world, Angel’s Flight, hiked to the Hollywood sign and went to the beach in Malibu. Each day when had lunch out and each girl got to buy a souvenir. They went to bed tired and happy every night. Happier than I’d ever seen them on a vacation to some swanky beach resort, which is always fraught with arguments and teary eyed moments about some portion of the trip. I was surprised and thrilled to learn that they’d be so happy with so little. Other than restaurant lunches and trinkets from tourist stands, they loved just spending time together as a family. Spring break at home has got me rethinking our summer vacation plans, which just may end up getting ditched in favor of having a summer staycation as well!

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