Monday, January 4, 2016

Winter Break

Winter break is over and whoa, boy, it was a doozy.

That’s not to say it wasn’t wonderful—it really was. We were all home together and spent quality time that we haven’t been able to since school started. But I think I might have carried my “the kids need a real break” too far. As usual.

Both girls have had a difficult school year, and winter break is the one break where we weren’t looking at colleges or trying to get a million things done. So I wanted them to have time to do whatever they pleased (within legal limits) and with whomever they wanted.

Banana Girl informed me that ALL her friends, even the ones who never go on vacation, were going on vacation. The General (formerly The Princess—Star Wars fans will get the reference) needed to empty her room for the painter to come the Monday she went back to school. My mom volunteered to help in any way necessary. So I figured we were covered. We’d do a little shopping, get some chores around the house done and if any friends were actually available, we’d see them. My mom would take the girls a little to give them a break, and all would be great.


Banana Girl wanted to reorganize her room and closet, so for Chanukah, my parents gave her a trip to The Container Store, which they planned for over break. She also wanted to bake, so my mom planned to teach her how to make piecrust (and of course, a pie to go in it). She wanted to play her new Monopoly game with her friends before they left on vacation, and to have all of her friends over before break ended.

The General wanted her best friend from camp to spend a couple days with us. Her friends from her summer Israel trip wanted to visit their counselor who was visiting New York City. And she wanted to help celebrate her NFTY friend’s birthday. Plus she needed to clean her room.

I wanted to do something fun for New Year’s Eve.

Here’s what happened:

The General’s camp friend arrived the day after Christmas, plunked her bags down and we drove to Garden State Plaza for shopping. Remember that story about the massive traffic and the person who sat in the parking garage for FOUR hours trying to leave the shopping center? Well, that person wasn’t me, but we were there. Banana Girl and I shopped while The General and her friend went off on their own. Biggest mall ever, most amount of people I’ve ever seen. O. M. G.

The next day, I dropped the General and her friend in town and hosted Banana Girl’s 3 best friends here for a board game-playing afternoon—one of which involved whipped cream (I have no idea why).

The day after that, I dropped the General’s friend at our meeting spot for her to return home. One night to ourselves.

The following day, five of the General’s friends from her summer Israel trip came over and spent the night, after which I drove them to the train station to go into New York City to meet up with their counselor for lunch. The highlight of that experience for me:

Me: Where are you meeting E?
Them: Penn Station.
Me: Penn Station is pretty big. Maybe you should narrow it down?
One of them: Well, he’s really, really tall.
Me: Maybe you should narrow it down (the best I could do without screaming)?
Them: The entrance.
Me: There are many entrances.

I thought I showed a lot of restraint not screaming at them, nor mentioning sex slaves or human trafficking. Yay me. They all made it back to where they were supposed to go.

In the meantime, my mom helped Banana Girl empty her room and closet to organize. I avoided looking and tried to plan something for my husband and I to do New Year’s Eve.

The General talked about having plans with her friends for New Year’s. Said plans remained vague. Banana Girl invited a friend over for New Year’s Eve. The General finally made plans with her school friends to go out to dinner for New Year’s Eve and volunteered us to drive home. There went my plans.

The day after New Year’s Day, I drove the General to meet her NFTY friend and to spend the night, then hosted Banana Girl’s seven friends here for the evening. The following day, we picked up the General from her friend’s house.

Last night there were only four of us in the house. All night. Today they are all gone.

What did I learn?
  • Be careful what I wish for.
  • Teens who love to play board games warm my heart.
  • Having friends in lots of different groups is awesome.
  • Despite being beyond clueless, teens can actually make it into NYC, through Penn Station and back onto the train and home in one piece.
  • Leading a new driver out of our neighborhood and down the hill to navigate the fog is a small price to pay for ensuring her safety, and I know other moms would do the same for my teen.
  • Watching the ball drop with my kids and husband, regardless of how many “others” are there too, is perfect.
  • Despite my doubts, it is possible to clean out a room by a deadline.
  • Closets can get organized.
  • Mondays are amazing.

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