Spring Break has already started or is scheduled to begin soon for most students throughout the metro and Oklahoma City family fun is on calendars everywhere, including MetroFamily's. Camps, classes and community events are slated for these two weeks, as well as a chance for families to reconnect or truly take a break.
Hannah Schmitt, our editor, told in our March edition about her Spring Breaks as a child, carefree times that involved outdoor play, crawdad fishing and bacon on a string. As I read her column, I began to reflect on my own Spring Break experiences but quickly came to a singular realization: I can't remember doing anything in particular. Nothing.
I don't recall any activities that were out of the ordinary. We didn't go to camp. My birthday falls during Holy Week or Spring Break or both and I do remember choosing a cake at the bakery, family parties, giving up chocolate for Lent, St. Patrick's Day and rainy afternoons. Those are happy memories but very different from what I believe my sons will have.
Why we remember what we do from childhood is the subject of a lot of theory but what I know for certain is that experiences as young kids shape us, for better, for worse, sometimes forever. My sons are still small: Sam is 7, Isaac is 3, Gabriel is brand new. What we do now matters, even if they won't remember it on a conscious level and that calls my attention as a parent because these textbook formative years are messy, fast and full. For as much as we try to clean up, slow down and simplify, there's a lot going on for families, with more choices than ever where to spend our time.
My Dad had a blue and white Chevy Blazer from the mid-1980s that he kept throughout my childhood. I remember him washing that car in the driveway, watching him work at it and helping loosen pebbles from the floor mats, vacuuming its bright blue plush upholstery. There was waxing, on-off with faded towels, and there were oil changes with a shop radio on in the background. The garage was cold and a kerosene heater glowed blue out there even in the springtime but we knew where to find him. We also knew not to leave gum wrappers in the Blazer's cupholders or metal ashtrays. He worked at maintaining his car when he really didn't have to anymore and some of my happiest memories were going places with him.
Songs came on the radio when we were in the Blazer and my Dad would ask me if I remembered which artist was singing, remind me what year that song came out and what he was doing then, mostly classic rock songs from the '70s. Loud volumes were acceptable. David Bowie and John Mellencamp and The Rolling Stones were too.
I don't recall where we were headed but I do remember going in the car together. When adolescence reached a fever pitch and we couldn't talk about anything else, the music was still there and I did learn from his work ethic.
It's my turn. I wonder what Sam, Isaac and Gabriel will remember or take away. We make plans and go places. Their school breaks will be different than mine. The time we spend together, whether it's now or not at all, does make an impression as days turn into months and years. We keep putting one foot in front of the other, feet that start so small but will soon outpace mine. And the times, especially the breaks, go fast. Before we know it, this era will fade but what they learned in it just might stay around so we try our best, whatever that looks like for each family.
We play music in the car too, mostly on our way to local events, and I hope all three of my children remember feeling happy even if they don't remember anything else in particular.
"A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant's rings make way for other toys
One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar."
— "Puff, the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul & Mary
If you're looking for a fun event or activity this Spring Break, check out MetroFamily's lists of local activities and camps/classes. Find local St. Patrick's Day celebrations here and check out our Weekend Picks weekly newsletter for fun anytime of the year.
P.S. Find our Spring Fling Mystery Tour going on now for a chance to win a family pack of tickets to two locations in the metro. Open your envelope to find out where you're going. Click here for more information and to enter to win before this Monday, March 16.