40 Reflections #24: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season
Every time I prep the calendar for the month, my pen draws an arrow covering another week with the words fall, winter, or spring break. I love having the kids home, but there’s a different feel as they get older. A tub of tinker toys, play dough and coloring doesn’t have the same draw as when they were toddling around.
Rarely do we travel over these week-long respites. Instead we declare them “Stay-cations!” Nope, it’s not even a word, but, when said enthusiastically, you can alter the “mind-set” (over-used education word) of your kids and turn at least one out of the seven days into a mind-blowing experience. I guarantee the other six days will involve a fine balance of play, leisure, drama, and bickering…laced in love, of course.
Prior to each upcoming break, we hear all the dazzling destinations friends will be enjoying: cruises, beaches, Disney, even trips to Grandma’s lake house. Navigating away from comparison a few years ago, I researched local activities, and Google offered me 116 million ideas. However, dangling at the end of my new Google search, was the word “FREE” immediately eliminating about 100 million of our options. Not bad. I began my planning. Our theme? Free Fun! When I say fun, I mean it was fun, because it was free.
Three For Free:
- First off, we hitched onto a homeschool tour at an Anne Frank Museum located in a strip mall nestled nicely between a Best Buy and a Barbershop. Not completely encompassing the Amsterdam feel, yet fascinating, educational, and well, free.
- We also had a gift card day when we decided to use gift cards that had sat a few years because the establishments were outside of our 15 mile radius. One day we schlepped to Buckhead, visited a charming Catholic Church – we “happened” upon (during noon mass-smack in the middle-oops), and then scooted over to a fancy deli. With $10 on the gift card we were determined not to spend a penny more. So, we ordered a BLT, one sprite, and three straws. Bewildered, the cashier asked if we wanted anything else, “No sir, we’re fine”. Thinking we were living out of our car, he gave us a ‘you’re not from Buckhead’ look, which is simply a sad smirk accompanied by about three nods of the head. The kids were pleased with their BLT and the drink since they were hungry…not the ‘this is our only meal-hungry’ just the ‘we drove to Atlanta-hungry’. We loaded up in the car and headed home. Memorable Moment: The splitting of the sandwich took me back to our daughter’s kindergarten days when I directed her to bring home ANY candy she was given at school. One day she arrived with a Dum Dum lollipop which measured about a quarter inch circumference. We took the hammer to it, multiplying the sugary asset, and split it between our three amigos. What a wacky mom I am.
- We rounded out the week by visiting the Governor’s Mansion. We caught the tail end of free touring day and spent the bulk of our time visiting with the kind-hearted 1st Lady. She explained the history of the great room, the trading of tea, and kept our liberal family engaged.
Once we made our way out, we fled home and just relaxed, reflecting on the tribulations of The Frank Family, the pillars made from oak at the Governor’s Mansion, and of course, the delicious BLT. Maybe next break, which is coming right up, we’ll go crazy and head to Starbuck’s or if they’re lucky, go to the car wash (almost Disney).