Ryan Trares: Back to reality

All good things must come to an end.

Since Dec. 16, Anthony has been in little kid heaven. The start of his school’s winter break meant that for the next couple of weeks, he was free of even the mild responsibility that comes with being a first-grader.

Pajamas became his official uniform. Christmas cookies and other snacks were abundant. Bedtimes were more of a suggestion than a hard-fast rule, and sleeping in was the norm.

There were a multitude of Christmas celebrations and new toys to play with. For at least the first week, he could pretty much name whatever holiday movie he wanted to watch and it would be on TV somewhere. Classic carols on the radio made even the most mundane car ride a festive treat.

We also tried to make the rest of his break special. There were trips to the movie theater. He got to pick a fun place to get breakfast one morning, then gorged on whipped cream-covered pancakes. On New Year’s Eve, he tried so hard to make it to midnight, and almost made it. It’s been fun overload; he would break out in spontaneous singing and dancing out of nowhere.

And then, to have it come to an end — it naturally wasn’t going to go completely smoothly.

School was back in session by Thursday, and on Wednesday night, we returned to our routine. Lunches were packed, his backpack was pulled from the depths of the pantry and we laid out a brand new outfit, including a sweatshirt from his favorite YouTube streamer that was Anthony’s favorite gift from Santa.

My wife and I worried that it would be difficult to pick up where we left off in December. After all, it was hard for us as adults to set aside the fun and frivolity of the holidays and get back to work this week.

But Anthony handled it like a champ. We had minimal resistance getting him to bed, and he actually woke up earlier than he normally did, zooming down the stairs with a smile on his face.

I think he was disappointed that his winter break was at a close, but at the same time, he missed his buddies from class. He wanted to tell them all about what treasures he got for Christmas, and hear everything fun that they had received.

His reaction was kind of inspiring for me. I always have a hard time letting go of the holiday season in January, even if I know the trees and decorations have to go back in the garage. We go from a time of brightness and festivity to the cold, dark winter too abruptly, it feels like to me.

Still, like Anthony embodied, it’s a happy time — look to the coming weeks with excitement and optimism. I’ll take that to heart.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist at the Daily Journal. He has long reported on the opioids epidemic in Johnson County, health care, nonprofits, social services and veteran affairs. When he is not writing about arts, entertainment and lifestyle, he can be found running, exploring Indiana’s craft breweries and enjoying live music. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727. Follow him on Twitter: @rtrares