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Progression of a winter break

Winter Break, Minus One Day:

I cannot wait for school to be over. The kids need a break. We all need a break. Time to sleep in all morning! Wear pajamas all day! Make cookies! Make hot cocoa! Make memories! Snuggle up in front of movies. In front of the fire. In front of the menorah. In front of the Christmas tree. Play on the tree swing outside. Play board games inside. Connect. Relax. Love. I cannot wait.

Winter Break, Day 1:

Oh, so we’re not sleeping in, huh? That’s OK. Let’s jump right into cheer! We make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. We never make breakfast! Look what fun we’re having! The kids want to add bananas. No problem! The kids want to add peanut butter chips. Sure thing! The kids want to add whipped cream on top. Um, OK. The kids want to add sprinkles and M&M’s on top of that. Yeah, sure, I mean, I guess, because look at me. I’m fun mom. Winter break mom. There are no rules here, just memories! The kids try the pancakes. The kids spit out the pancakes. They don’t like the pancakes. They cry that I messed up the pancakes. The pancakes are yucky. Nasty. Gross. Why did I put chocolate chips in them? Chocolate is disgusting. Can they please just have oatmeal like usual?

Winter Break, Day 2:

So much cheer! So much cheer! Let’s wake up to the sound of Christmas music. Let’s have a dance party! We run around the house. We twirl! We spin! We make memories! We run in circles. We eat the day-old pancakes that no one ate yesterday. Apparently, chocolate chips are only good on the second day. Cold pancakes are the best pancakes. The kids want more! And more! I’m so happy for winter break! We love this time together. We love making fun food together, eating fun food together. We kick the dance party into high gear. More twirling! More jumping! More spinning! Then barfing. Colorful barfing. M&M barfing. It looks like the rainbow Christmas lights on our tree, as colorful as the rainbow candles next to our menorah. See? We’re still festive.

Winter Break, Day 3:

OK, we need to get out of the house. But it’s raining outside. Perfect time for movie watching. Let’s snuggle up and watch Mommy’s favorite Christmas movies. “The Muppet Christmas Carol”! “Miracle on 34th Street”! “Home Alone”! The kids want to know whether “Frozen” is a Christmas movie. No, not really. The kids ask to make a last-minute addendum to their Santa list. Bring them “Frozen 2.” I don’t think Santa can do that. “Frozen 2” isn’t old enough to be a stocking stuffer. The kids say Santa is powerful. I say not so powerful as Bob Iger. The kids cry. The kids wail. I turn on “Frozen.”

Winter Break, Day 4:

It’s Christmas Eve. The kids asked for snow. All they really wanted was snow. A white Christmas. I found a park an hour away that makes snow. There is sledding! There is tubing! Ice skating! Snowball fights! A snowman-making competition! It’s a surprise for the kids. The kids are excited. The kids are over the moon. They haven’t had much experience with snow. They put on their hats, their mittens. My husband and I smile warmly at each other. This is what winter break is all about. Memories. My youngest puts on her snow pants. It’s hot, she cries. Too hot, she cries. We suggest getting into the snow. The snow is cold, we say. The snow is too cold, they cry. It’s melting down their backs! It’s freezing!

Winter Break, Day 5:

It’s Christmas Day. It’s magical.

Winter Break, Days 6-10:

Holy holly! The cookies were made. The cookies were burnt. The popcorn was popped for “Frozen” on a loop. The pajamas are worn all day, but now the pajamas stink. Did you wash your hair or just run a candy cane through it? The fake tree has caught fire. The Jenga pieces are being used as darts. The days are still raining. I’m losing my mind. These kids have to go back to school! How long is this friggin’ merrymaking madness going to last?

As I write this, there are only three more days to go. But really, it’s all about the beautiful memories.

——

Katie Langrock is a

nationally syndicated columnist.

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