Spring Break in the books, complete with highlights

No surprise, Spring Break came and went in a blink of an eye. But this year it was much more relaxed and enjoyable (I talked about the stress of Plebe Year Spring Break here).

There are plenty of “highlights,” things to look back on that will generate a smile. I always enjoy the actual pick up – for one, I love being on The Yard – and, of course, the ride home. And the first night is great.

IMG_20180314_080613But I think the most enjoyable moment came the first morning and it wasn’t anything dramatic. We all slept in a bit and woke to a leisurely breakfast. The Mid Mom made some pancakes and our Mid enjoyed some homemade waffles. But the real joy was in the conversation and it wasn’t the substance of the conversation, but rather the texture, the feeling. It was just a relatively “normal” discussion about the events of the day and the weather and how things were going in general. We always refer to the Academy as N*ot College and so much of it is Not Normal, especially that first year. But this year has been different and that morning epitomized that.

There was no rush, there was no underlying stress in the tone or tenor of the conversation. It was calm and serene. Actually, it was blissful.

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At the Carranza memorial in the Pine Barrens.

Now, we did have some fun, including a family outing that included a visit to the Carranza crash site in the Pine Barrens.

If you have a moment, read Emilio Carranza’s amazing story (here’s a link to the Wikipedia page). when I relayed it to the kids, they were both stunned. Mid Sib had the best response – “I want to feel sorry for the guy, but what he did was pretty stupid.”

The memorial is tucked away in the Pine Barrens, which are, by nature, rather remote, and you’ll never find this by accident (here’s the location on Google Maps). It took some very purposeful driving to get there – and, as with most of the Pine Barrens, there was NO service, so the smartphone was not of much use. But we found it, and it was a worthwhile detour. We even had an adventure on the way out, as two of the paths (not roads, literally hard-packed sand paths) featured “Road Closed – Flooded” signs. We ignored them, of course, and managed to live to tell about it.

I located another stop and this was strictly for my entertainment. When my Mid sees something ridiculous, his reaction is almost always the same. He’ll furrow is eyebrow and say, “Wait. What? No.” And that’s just what I was shooting for.

How could I coax that reaction? Quite simple, really. How about a 12-foot California Raisin holding an ice cream cone? Sure, you say, that would do it, but where would you find it? South Jersey, of course.

When we pulled up, I said, “there it is!” The Mid didn’t disappoint – “Wait. What? NO!” I laughed out loud. A very short stop that only took us a few minutes out of our way, but totally worth it.

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I often tell my kids, I really only need to entertain one person and that’s me. Mission accomplished.

Our final destination was Cape May, NJ. Despite the frigid cold and chilling wind, we walked the beach and found an amazing handful of shells. The Mid does something he loves – gathered GoPro footage and some pictures for his Instagram. We bought candy (yes, some of the candy stores are open off season) and had dinner at the Mid Mom’s favorite restaurant – the Lobster House.

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The meal was great, but the entertainment was watching Mid Sib try to disassemble a lobster. Great floor show! The touching part was when we struggled to crack open a claw. She just turned to her brother and said, “I need you to help me,” which he did, of course. Heartwarming to watch.

I love that USNA has Spring Break early, because it makes it easier to mark the time after Christmas Break. I hate that USNA has Spring Break early, because once its over, it is a very long stretch to the end of the academic year. We’ll get the Mid home for Easter, but that will be a super-fast turnaround, gone in the blink of an eye.

But we have some great memories to get us through until then. Did you have a great memory from Spring Break?

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