Some memories of my college years are, well, a bit fuzzy. What I remember in vivid detail, however, are the holidays of my first year away at University living in college residence. Attending U of T from Vancouver, I was one of just a handful of students in an entire building who didn’t go back home for Thanksgiving, Christmas or March Break. As a result, the halls of the dorms were unusually quiet at these times. Not in an eerie way, like when reading, “The Shining”, by Stephen King alone in a hotel-like environment, (not recommended). Instead, the distinct serenity of being left behind in residence was liberating. I felt that I had free-run of the space that was otherwise congested with the jocularity, antics and frenetic energy of day-to-day living in close quarters with dozens of other dudes. Reflecting back as a working parent now, I’m astonished that I could open my door, step into the hallway and say my biggest secrets aloud without any repercussions.
I still feel the same during holiday breaks today as a family man. Especially when, for instance, I’m not the one travelling to a ski resort, or beach destination for March Break, but left behind in the otherwise bustling big city. Perhaps this sensation is a psychological trigger imprinted from the nostalgic flashbacks of my college experience. The neighbourhood is quieter, the phone’s not ringing, there’s less traffic, there’s fewer lines at grocery stores and the Drive-Thru. It inspires a sense of self-awareness that goes unregistered when life is “normal”. I feel the urgency of the empty streets. Not in an eerie “Walking Dead” kind of way, but instead like Tom Hanks “discovering” fire on the beach in “Castaway”. I can barely resist the impulse to yell out just about anything!
That’s the only reason why I know I can admit this out loud. And by “out loud” I mean in a “posted publicly in social media” kind of way. With everyone else untethered and not paying attention while sipping après ski bevvies, or lounging under their beach cabana, I feel like I can open my door, step onto the porch and admit:
I can’t wait for March Break to be over and for my kids go back to school!
Phew. That’s soooooo disburdening.
BUT, just in case you’ve acquired pirate wifi in the hotel lobby, or captured a stray satellite signal on the Peak To Peak gondola, let me clarify that this does NOT mean I don’t LOVE my children.
First of all, doing the math this year in particular, I calculated that our kids have a total of 11 school days in March. No matter how much I might enjoy hanging out with my Fam, it’s not like my business can be put on hold for the same stretch.
Second, this March Break being a “staycation” for us, that’s a big chunk of time to entertain three kids, especially when their friends have scampered off with their respective families to other places.
But, having said all of that, I still do admit: I’m just not one of those Dad’s who wants to surrender my daily dose of “alone time” for more than a week or so. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! I am startled and humbled by other Dad’s who embrace a polar opposite stance. When the Christmas Holidays were coming to an end this past season, a fellow-father said, (and I’m paraphrasing), “Sadly, just a another day of fun remains before the kids head back to class”. Whaaaaa?
I mean, I had fun on our 2015 family Festive Season vacation and everything, but tic-toc, time for study block! Rinse out those moldy lunch bags you neglected in your backpacks kids, and sing along with me to one of my favourite TV commercials, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
I know you know that I love my children as much as the next guy; (even if that next guy makes me feel like a chump by expressing his dismay that he can’t spend any more time gleefully frolicking with his offspring before they’re returned to the care of the school system). I also know that you just might feel the same as I do when harkening back to the uniquely mysterious singularity of my college dorm life during the holidays. So, this March Break- if you’re left behind with your children in the strangely tranquil empty streets of your normally abounding community AND you’re also anxious to re-acquire your dependent independence- open your door and step up onto that social media soap box to speak aloud your most secret confession:
Tuesday March 29th can’t come soon enough!
After all, if you Tweet in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?