My Kid Is Gone on Spring Break & I'm Excited

Janelle Harris
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moms, celebrateThe first time Skylar went away, she was about 4. And as soon as her dad’s car crested the driveway, I was in tears. I mean the ugly cry: face broke up, lip folded under, heaving, snot, the works. The child was only going for a weekend, but I’d never been apart from her so it was like a mini-eternity ‘til she was back underfoot.

I also remember when folks told me that one day, I’d be excited about her trips. I thought they were stone cold crazy and knowing me and my shotgun mouth, I probably told them so. Fast forward seven or eight years to 12:30 today, when Tween Miss Thing officially began her spring break. All next week, she’ll be off spending time with her grandmothers in Brooklyn and Philly, which means I’ll be by myself for seven days.

Won’t need a Kleenex this time. In fact, if you have a noisemaker handy, I’ll toot it for a sec. Spring break is a respite for kids and teachers but hells yeah moms can enjoy it, too. 

I mean, it should go without saying, but then I guess it doesn’t, so I’ll make it Tiffany-crystal clear: I adore my daughter. Love the stuffing out of her. We’re actually pretty close, despite this funky attitude minefield and the typical tween-dom grapples with grades, boys, friends, and too much doggone talking in class.

Love her like I do as her mama, I need an opportunity to stare off into space and daydream for a few minutes without chastising myself for unconstructive use of time. It would be nice to get dressed in the morning without hollering at her for fooling around on her netbook instead of ironing her school uniform. And if, in the next seven days, I do not find myself picking up something off the floor that got dropped in a moment of 12-year-old carelessness or don’t have to rewash a dish that she did some half-arse job of scrubbing, I won’t be the least bit upset.

Because even though young Harris is my first priority and my ultimate joy in life, I’m still a human being who requires time to recharge, relax, and refuel my patience, my mental space for peace and calm, and my ability to think clearly so I can come up with good motherly wisdom, witty comebacks to snarky comments, and some new recipes for dinner.

So while the girl is gone, I’ll be doing just that, trying to get that old thing back and remember what it was I used to do when I was just plain ol’ Janelle and not Skylar’s Mom, Mother Dear, or Mommmmyyyyyy. I vaguely remember going out with my homegirls without worrying about calling home to check on the child and parceling out my time around the even more demanding schedule of pick-up and drop-off times for said little person. I may find myself chastising my friends for not wearing a jacket on a chilly evening or wiping sauce off of their faces when we go out to eat, but I think by now they pretty much understand that once that maternal switch gets flipped on, it can’t be wrenched back off, even during spring break. I think I ...

Wait — did I mention she’ll be gone for seven days? Seven silence-filled, ain’t-nobody-asking-me-for-a-gosh-diddy-thing days?

Oh I did? Forgive me. Got excited all over again.

These few things will be certain: I am definitely getting a manicure and pedicure. I’ve been holding out because I feel guilty since finances around here aren’t flowing like either milk or honey and that kind of splurge is so far off of my radar. But hey, spring break only comes around once a year. And I think I’m going to revisit all the exhibits at the Smithsonian and National Geographic Museum that I get rushed through because I’m bombarded with a one-voice chorus of “Can we go now? Are you done yet? Mommy, you don’t have to read everything on every single wall ...”

So see ya on the other side of spring break and hopefully, we’ll be kinder, gentler, more fresh-faced grown-up people. Send me a postcard.

UPDATE: I dropped her off and starting missing her before I even got across state lines.

What did you do or what are you doing for spring break? Do you vacay with your kids or take a little “you” time?

Image via River Beach/Flickr

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