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I’ve always been a big fan of the Spring Break.  As a kid living in upstate New York, every March we would escape the snow and head to Florida – as my sportswriter dad covered baseball Spring Training. Back then, “Spring Break” lasted six weeks. My mom, sister and I swam all day, went to every Orioles game, ordered raspberry sherbet from room service and fell asleep each night listening to Dad type his story on something called a “Teleram”.

In college, Spring Break took on a whole new meaning. But as I now have children, let’s just say what happens in Padre really should just stay there. And thankfully, cell phones and Facebook hadn’t been invented yet. Whew!

As a parent with kids, Spring Break became all about them. Trips to the beach, cruises and other sunny vacations have been pretty much the norm, as Joe and I had the idea early on that if we made Spring Break super duper fun, the kids would always want to spend it with us. So far, it’s worked.

But this is the year that everything has changed. Jack left for college. And I knew last August (when I plotted every single Rice school holiday on my calendar) that his Spring Break wasn’t the same week as Gillian’s. But that was for “March Hallye” to worry about, so I set the worry aside until last week.

Jack did come home and spent some quality time with all of us. But he slept most of the time and Gillian was in school, so going on a trip was out of the question. We did have one weekend all together, where we (mostly) set aside work and friends and cell phones. It was from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon…or what became known as the 30-hour Spring Break.

We headed to Houston, and Jack replaced me as family cruise director. In just 30 hours, we:

  • Drove to Houston
  • Ate at Local Foods in Rice Village…cool, hipster spot with locally grown, cool, hipster food.
  • Visited the Menil Collection…my kids love museums, and read every single placard next to every single piece of artwork.
  • Went to the Galleria…the only mall in the world to have a Tiffany’s and Forever 21 under one roof.
  • Had dinner at Cheesecake Factory…because it was there.
  • Watched SNL and ate cookies in the hotel room…because there is only a small window of time where an entire family can enjoy SNL together and that is now.
  • Went to Chinatown and drank “real” Boba tea….not the Americanized stuff, but the kind where you aren’t sure really what’s in those tapioca balls and don’t ask.
  • Went to Fiesta….where the kids bought a dozen different flavors of Jarritos soda. And a Pancho Villa candle – because why not.
  • Ate at the original Ninfa’s on Navigation…because if you are a Houstonian, you know it’s the best Mexican place in town and totally worth the trip.
  • Went to Rice University…where we delivered Jack back to his room, along with his sodas and a big smile. Man, the kid loves that place.

And that was it. Our Spring Break. 30 hours. Done. A blur of nonstop eating mixed with Houston culture. The best part of this Spring Break was that everyone was thankful. Thankful for a little fun. Thankful for weird food and art. And especially thankful that we all really just enjoy being together.

I have no idea how next year will go down, or if Jack will stop coming home all together. And I have come to grips that Gillian is right behind him with one foot practically out the door. But I know that Joe and I will keep offering up the most super duper fun Spring Breaks that the hours allow. And maybe if we do that, we’ll keep finding time to squeeze in a little togetherness.

And that’s okay with me.

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