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Tales from the Motherhood: Family revels in respite from routine

Published: Friday, April 4, 2014 4:20 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 1:52 p.m. CST

What a great week. But for the kids’ physicals and Holly’s pet-sitting gigs, their spring break from school has been completely unstructured.

Sure, trips to novel places are fun and exciting – and we’ve enjoyed them – but every now and then some down time, when we do only what the spirit moves us to do, is just the thing. Nope, we won’t be needing a vacation from this vacation.

This week has reminded me of so many other grand stretches of time I’ve enjoyed with my children, particularly those when they were little, before school began (and their dad was at work). Who knows how many I’ll have left with them while they’re still kids?

Next year, when my oldest is a junior, he’ll be going on the school trip to France for spring break. And who knows, the year after that?

But that’s then. This is now.

Yes, this one, this break, has been lovely. We did manage a quick litter-pickup in our yard (amazing what was left behind after all of that snow melted), and raked the insulating hay out of the little, raised strawberry patch we built last fall (can’t wait to see if those transplanted strawberry plants produce anything after this crazy winter!), but we also enjoyed some lazy, stay-in-our-pajamas days. Those are the best, aren’t they?

Noah got his fill of soccer on TV; we got caught up on “Modern Family;” Holly watched a couple of old “Waltons” re-runs with me – and even asked, another time, if we could watch another episode (THAT was a pleasant surprise); and they both even agreed to let me teach them how to play the card version of mah jongg, my new, favorite pastime. (If you’re familiar with the game you’ll appreciate that their new favorite question is, “How many Craks do you have?” Yup, giggle-city.)

The best thing, for me, though, about these unstructured days has been the organic way our conversations have evolved. Without the pressure to get out the door to school or soccer practice or games, they’ve been lovely, relaxed and uninterrupted. But we didn’t just laze our time away. We did a shift at the animal shelter (Naperville Area Humane Society) and spent an afternoon listening to the moving and hilarious stories of a friend who, next week, leaves his beloved home of 40 years – where he and his wife raised their family and made memories – to begin a new chapter of his life in a local retirement community.

Oh, and we also went to the gym. Twice. The second time, I thought it would kill me.

It has been a few months since I had any sort of workout routine.

Between the bitter weather and some body-wonkiness (for which I finally had a procedure a couple of weeks ago), I haven’t darkened the door of the gym more than a few times. But Mr. Noah is seriously motivated and, well, it was time.

So, we went. The second time, though, Wednesday morning, I could barely get out of bed. (I am SO out of shape! Plus, I think allergy season is upon us, folks.)

But Holly and I had challenged Noah to join us at our deceptively easy yoga/pilates class (taught by the lovely and talented Rachel at River West Family Fitness in Batavia) and he took the bait, so off we went. (By the way, not only did my new iron-pumper keep up – it’s been a few years since we took those mom and kids yoga classes – the kid even did a backbend along with Miss Holly. Whoa.)

Ha! On second thought, maybe I will need a vacation from this vacation. But I digress.

But it’s not over yet. When we brainstormed those things we’d hoped to do this week, also on the list was a hike, a bike ride and a movie. Bring on the popcorn.

• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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