Ryan Trares: Ready for a break

The countdown to this vacation had been coming for weeks.

Anthony had been looking forward to spring break since his school came back from Christmas, it seemed. Every day, he asked how many more days until his week off.

Finally, last Thursday, he sprinted from his school to car, backpack bouncing as he ran, and shouted, “Spring break!”

Not that we had any big plans for his time off. Our family had decided not to travel for this break, saving for vacations later in the year. There were no beaches in our future; we’d be hanging around central Indiana.

At times, it may have been boring for him. Both my wife and I had to work all week long, so Anthony was left to entertain himself for long stretches of time.

At times, we felt bad for him. But he flourished, using his imagination in weird and wonderful ways.

One day, he decided to cut wavy strips of paper and tape them together, making a serpent that snaked its way across our kitchen and into our living room.

Using some campfire toys, plastic fish and more pieces of paper, he made a raft and pretended he was fishing in the middle of the ocean. On a sunny spring day, he set up a lemonade stand.

There were video games and Disney movies to watch, sleeping in and snacks to munch on. Anthony relished a whole week to do nothing.

That’s not to say we didn’t try to make it a special spring break for Anthony. My wife took him to lunch, went shopping to buy an Easter gift for his grandmother and watched him as he played outside.

When I got home, we’d find an area playground to run around at. More than once, we went for ice cream.

Staying home for break also allowed us to take part in some experiences we could only get in Indiana. We visited Cool Creek Nature Center in Carmel, where we interacted with turtles, tortoises, salamanders and snakes. Anthony was in reptile heaven.

Another day, we caught a day game at Victory Field, getting our first taste of baseball with plenty of peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

When I was a kid, it was always kind of disappointing when my friends and their families took off for warmer weather on spring break. We never traveled during those weeks, except for annual trips to see my grandparents. At that age, I was more interested in splashing in the surf than braving the early-spring weather.

But as an adult, I have great memories of those weeks, whether playing in the woods behind my grandparents house or finding the four or five other kids in the neighborhood staying home for spring break and making our own fun.

Anthony never let on that he’d rather be traveling out of state. Maybe in the future, he’ll beg us to plan a Florida vacation.

But for this week, at least, we all had a spring break to remember.

Which is going to make waking up for school on Monday morning that much more harrowing. We’re not looking forward to it.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].