It’s Friday. No… listen to me. It’s not just any Friday. It’s the Friday before SPRING BREAK. Yeah. You get it now. It also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day, and I work at an elementary school. NOW you really understand, don’t you?
The Friday before spring break is pretty close to bedlam when you’re surrounded by 500 little munchkins who are ready to be home with their families (or possibly shipped off to visit Grandma) for a week. Even the kindergarteners can’t wait to find out what this mysterious vacation is all about. I’m sometimes amused when they aren’t quite sure what the term “spring break” means. They know all about Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and birthdays, but what is this new holiday? Until you become a student, you have no idea.
Well, I did the math, and this will be my 44th spring break. I have been spring breaking since my own kindergarten year.
As a little munchkin, I enjoyed visiting my grandparents on their farm in SW Arkansas. I wish I could travel back in time to one of those spring breaks. Talking to Grandma in the kitchen. Going fishing with Grandpa. Riding into town with them to get groceries or just run errands. I remember how proud they were to introduce my brother and me to everyone we saw. I didn’t understand what the fuss was all about until I became a grandparent myself.
As a teenager, spring break meant staying up late and sleeping late. I still visited my grandparents, but didn’t always stay the entire week. When I did go to the farm, I wrote letters upon letters to my best friend back home… a whole hour away. I’m pretty sure that we would have texted each other continuously if we’d had smartphones back then.
In college, spring breaks were not filled with beach trips for me. I went home and worked my old job at Bealls in the mall. In fact, I was fortunate to have that job waiting for me whenever I came home and needed money. If I could thank my managers today, I certainly would. In fact, I’m feeling inspired to try to track them down now.
After college, I learned what spring break means to teachers. Do you remember how much you looked forward to it as a student? Multiply that feeling by 10, and you might be close. I taught for 9 years, and I’ve been a counselor for nearly 18 years. Each spring break becomes more precious to me as I get older. I don’t need to go anywhere special or try to make a lot of memories. I just enjoy staying up late, sleeping late, and not worrying about setting an alarm for anything. I usually use this time to schedule neglected hair appointments, pedicures, house-cleaning, and maybe dental work. The week is usually capped off with a baseball tournament also. This is our last year for that. I always try to squeeze in a visit with my parents. I’m so thankful to still have them.
So, what did any of this have to do with wine? I bet you know. It’s Friday, and spring break #44 has begun.