Spring Break Blues

My life changed dramatically seven years ago when we had our first (and only) child. That’s him in the picture giving the evil-eye to Daisy Duck.

Forget the diapers, food patterns, the no-sleep situation, all of that passes, but there are some things that stay.

I used to determine when to take vacations and to travel abroad based on my work and other professional responsibilities. That all changed when my boy started school. Now I travel when HE is off. Those are the only times we can jump on a plane with the whole family and do something fun. If we don’t use those windows of opportunity and decide to go to Europe, let’s say in May, he will miss days at school and that’s unacceptable. In some states is even punished by law.

So here comes Spring Break, and it’s a week to do something fun, for all of us, but mostly for him.

That’s the other thing that changes. Now I take into consideration destinations that will be fun for all of us, so maybe we’ll leave Salzburg or Vietnam for other times. Wherever we go now, we have to make sure they have some fun and familiar activities for him…and chicken nuggets. That said, it doesn’t have to be Florida or Mexico all the time. The boy has a great time in Barcelona or Biarritz, but at some point he gets tired of a museum and says things like “You are making life too difficult for me!” He literally said that after one hour in a museum in San Sebastian, because he knew there was a cool park outside he wanted to play at. In Berlin we could go to a couple of cool places my wife and I wanted to visit, because there’s a Legoland in Potsdamerplatz, so he had something to look forward to. He is excited about our trip to Iceland this Summer, because he knows he will see whales and puffins, and just that thought might keep him entertained for ten days. One can only hope!

But now it’s only a week-long break, so no Iceland, no Argentina, no New Zealand. Next week we are going to Universal Resort, Orlando.

I’m 45 years-old. I wouldn’t go to the theme parks if I didn’t have a child. Believe me, I went many times when I was a younger adult, and had tons of fun. My friend Hannia took me the first time in the late 90’s and it was awesome, especially because they had a place called Pleasure Island (imagine a theme park for drunk adults) that I never stopped going to every time I was in the vicinity. That was then, now the idea of ginormous colorful drinks in plastic glasses and bad cover bands gets me a little sick.

I think I’m a good father, I do a lot for my boy, and I believe he knows it. This one I’m doing for him.

I haven’t been to Universal or any Disney Park in five years. We took the boy when he was two. One morning he threw the worst tantrum ever in the parking lot at Universal. Another morning his little friend needed to pee while we were in line to enter the park, so she went in a grassy patch in plain sight. At least she got to go in the grass, my boy went in my back when I was carrying him in my shoulders (I have a very cool “Florida” shirt to prove it). My fondest memory of that trip was when miraculously they took a nap at the same time and we got to sit down at Citywalk with a beer (not a good one at that). It was New Year’s Eve. Good times!

Now it will be different, because I’m calling Harry Potter, Spider-Man, all the Greek Gods, dinosaurs and the great Sponge Bob to help me. I ask for no fights, no illness, good sleep, and maybe, just maybe, two beers at Citywalk. That will be something.

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