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Suburban Island

Spring Break Moments
Tuesday, Apr. 06, 2004, 9:38 p.m.

QUESTION: Why don't I get a Spring Break?

WHAT I LEARNED: Teenagers are good for you.

Spring vacation lifts the hearts of the young and even those who are simply young at heart. Spring break at my house means a break from delivering my youngest to school in the morning. It means no homework to oversee. And this year, it means hes on his first full week away from home traveling to South Carolina for a little R & R with a couple pals and requisite dads of said pals.

It is Tuesday, and he has already spent a chunk of his money on gifts to bring back home. He shared with me some of his major purchases - the kid has a sense of humor and a big heart. Im not supposed to tell but I can say this his gifts will definitely have a well-considered comic appeal. He wont have a nickel left in his pockets by the time he returns. Of course that might be just as well, given his penchant for pitching coins off balconies.

Ah, to be a kid again.

My daughter starts her spring break in a few days. I watched her walk out to her car this afternoon off to visit a friend and stop at the grocery for me. As she crossed the lawn in the cool spring sunshine she began to skip. Just a few skipping steps to the car and away she drove maturity kicking in again.

Spring does that to you.

The picture of her, skipping like a little girl along that short stretch of green grass, brought tears to my eyes. It was a moment of distilled innocence, a visible outpouring of the sheer happiness of being young on a beautiful spring day with life stretching out ahead and so many places to go, dreams to dream, and possibilities to consider. Id like to bottle that skip and wear it everyday. It would be better than anything Chanel or Versace ever concocted. Failing that, Id like to digitize that instant just a few lighthearted skips and play it back for myself whenever Im feeling down. It would be a wonder drug.

My daughter will never know what a lift she gave me today with those few springtime skips. My son will never know how much he continues to teach me about not taking myself, or life, too seriously.

Two kids. Two great reminders. One very good day.

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