April Vacation Education of Mom

It’s Friday of the week of April vacation week, late Friday afternoon even.  

Every year, I try to make something “special” happen in April during this week.  Although once we did travel to the land of Mickey Mouse, and one other time, we went to our nation’s capitol, I don’t need that level of extravagance annually.  Two years ago, we spent one night on a battleship in Fall River, Massachusetts, an event the kids still talk about fondly (and I still shudder to recall how poorly I slept in the four-high bunk beds which sagged so low I couldn’t hold my book up properly to read when my bunkmate crawled in above me).  One year we let the kids do a nearly week-long massive slumber party, at our house, which still places high on their “fun memories” list.

This year?  I looked at their practice schedules at the beginning of the week.

The 4th grade girls lacrosse team practiced only on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, in the mornings.  The 8th grade boys lacrosse team was gearing up: they wanted five days of practice, in evening and afternoon time slots, varying by the day and field availability–plus a game on Saturday, in Bennington.  The high school JV boys team decided that they would schedule it every day--probably--with games on Wednesday and Saturday.  But it might change.  “It depends,” was all I could get for an answer from my sophomore son.

I had thought perhaps I could at least take them all to a matinee movie, or perhaps an evening showing? Even that has proven impossible, it just didn’t fit to take all three at the same time--to anywhere.

Yesterday, I picked up another high schooler, to take him to practice (where else would he be going?).  I wondered why he needed a ride, and he answered very matter-of-factly, “Oh, everyone else went down to Six Flags for the day.  I’m the only one home.”  I thought this seemed kind of sad, really, and was kind of surprised that his parents would leave out one of their kids from a family outing.  It didn’t seem like something they would do.  But he continued, unprompted.  “It’s good, really.  I slept in.  And now I’m going to lacrosse.  That’s better.”

I keep asking my normal nightly question: what are your two good things of the day?  The answer I get, every day that there is practice–now from all three of them: “Lacrosse.”  

The second answer varies according to the activities that might have happened, but from the older teenage boys, it is almost invariably the same:  “Sleeping in.”

The world according to teenage boys is very simple, I keep finding.  They only want sleep, food, video games... and lacrosse.  (Substitute snow boarding or hockey or soccer or football or baseball–whatever sport they are into at that time of year, but for this family, at this time of year, it’s lacrosse, like I wrote about last year, too.)

My desk for my office is surprisingly clear this week.  Several projects have moved forward,  even when I thought I wouldn’t worry about them.  Unlike the normal balancing act of mothering/being a responsible business owner, these past seven days or so have not been so difficult.  The expectations my kids had of me as a mother have come down to three themes:

One: Food.  I am to buy food, prepare food, and make sure food that’s eaten up is replaced quickly, particularly, it seems, if it is Poptarts...

Two: Practice.  I am to make sure they are up on time to get to practice, drive them to practice, get them home from practice, and bring their friends to and from practice if they need a ride.  

Three: Sleep.  I am to let them have friends over--and not wake them up (nor, of course, make them go to bed early).  Sleep is sacred.

I don’t believe I was properly prepared for my role this April vacation.  

A mother’s education is never really done.

Jill Stahl Tyler is a parent to three children involved in the local schools–now at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels.  She firmly believes in all education, and currently sits on the board for the Brattleboro School Endowment, the Brattleboro Town School Board and the Early Education Services policy council.  Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..