When your kids get a week off, but you don’t, what do you do?
Our school district is one of many in the Indy area that has adapted its calendar this year, so our kids were off all of last week.
So, like most working parents, Ian and I looked at our work calendars and figured out what we were truly up against. Then, we stared at each other with matching “now what?” expressions.
Some of our friends had planned Fall Break vacations to Disney World, Arizona or The Gulf Coast. Others had arranged flexible work schedules, or “staycations.” A few days before Fall Break commenced, we had planned….nothing.
Somehow, we scrounged together a plan. Here is what worked:
1. TAG – YOU’RE IT
For the first few days, our normal tag team work schedules covered things pretty well. Ian even got a few days off since his marching band students were on Fall Break too. But we knew we couldn’t make it through the whole week without help.
2. CALL IN REINFORCEMENTS
From a wonderful neighborhood teen, to kids’ friends, to my mom, we surveyed available help. At the last minute, unavoidable circumstances changed our sketchy plans once, then twice….and then my baby brother put on a superhero cape with an offer too good to refuse.
“I have a few days off,” Brian told me. “Jackson would love to see his cousins.” SOLD! Brian met Ian at an ice cream shop halfway between Indy and Chicagoland to take custody of our kids. They had a rockin’ awesome time getting spoiled.
So did we, actually.
3. SEIZE THE MOMENT
Since Ian and I can’t remember ever having a kid-free night in our own house (at least not since 2002, when a certain bald baby boy entered our world), we wanted to soak up every moment. We used our amazing new kitchen to share an amazing meal with friends. Ian made his signature amazing cocktails, laced with a dash of amazing habanero berry sauce called “Besito Caliente.” That translates into “hot little kiss,” but I think I should re-name it Besito de Muerte. My “amazing” kid-free night ended with me falling asleep early. Oops.
4. FIND SOME FUN
I wanted my kids to have at least one cool experience to pull out of their pocket when people asked them, “So what did you do on Fall Break?” I headed up north for the weekend for an impromptu (and SO happy) mini family reunion.
My mom suggested a trip to Brookfield Zoo the next day, using her membership pass.
Some kind of miracle must have happened there: All 3 of the kids had fun – AT THE SAME TIME.
With ages ranging from 3 to almost-11, and interests ranging from fairy princesses to contact sports, that takes divine intervention.
The biggest hits were the giraffe exhibit (where Daisy May watched a looping video of a giraffe giving birth about 30 times – “The baby giraffe FALL out, and then the mommy clean him up!”) and the Gorilla house, where a big gorilla gave the kids the priceless thrill of picking his nose. And eating what he found in there. Seriously.
We did Fall Break. Yes we did.
Thank you to everyone who made it not only survivable, but memorable.
Especially you, Mr. Gorilla.