Spring break is a very American tradition, when the nation celebrates the end of another winter. Families with kids seize the opportunity to get out of town, heading south looking for a laid back vacation, lured by the promise of Florida sun and golden sands.
In Ireland we call our annual two-weeks out of school Easter holidays, but these weeks are usually spent at home. Family vacations are reserved for warmer summer weeks.
As a new American I have truly grown to appreciate this special time of year. For me, spring break means spending time with friends and family. My children already look forward to seven sacred days of freedom. No school! No homework! Just sunny days filled with the joy of new discoveries.
Yet I have also learned spring break is not all about family fun in the sun. Having completed my undergraduate college years in Ireland, I never participated in the American phenomenon of College Spring Break.
My appreciation of this cultural rite of passage is limited and I dread the day my own children request to join the mass migration of northern students heading towards warmer southerly climes.
You cannot even say the word “Spring Break” without thinking of Daytona Beach my home for over seven years. When I lived there it was the Big Kahuna of spring break destinations, and I could not wait for it to end each year. I confess I steered clear of A1A, the main beach side thoroughfare, for the full duration of this college mayhem.
The chaotic calamity of the whole affair was just too much for me, even though I was still a ‘spring chicken’ back then. I just never really understood all the teen age tom foolery involved. I felt like an old granny even though I was still only in my twenties.
As we enjoy spring break together as a family, I pray these days of togetherness never end. I hope I never hear my children announce they are no longer interested in going somewhere as a family as they roll their eyes to heaven.
I never want the days of building sand castles, paddling in the waves, and sunset walks to end. When the time comes for my kids to be initiated in the American rites of spring break, will this Irish American Mom object? What will I say when they tell me it is what all Americans do?
I don’t know my answer to this question yet, but until the time comes I think I will just relax and enjoy spring break. Luckily Florida is a big state with hundreds of miles of golden beaches. There is plenty of room for all spring break fans.
Wishing you all a very happy and safe spring break.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)