In years past, I used to worry about what to "do" with Ben during his school breaks. This year, he had to remind me not to wake him up on Friday morning, because the start date of his spring break kept slipping my mind. And he has plenty to do: he's rehearsing with his band and with the exciting dada-esque art, drama and music group he is involved with, hanging out with his girlfriend and other friends, playing baseball, and practicing the saxophone, which he recently started learning.
And then, on Wednesday, our family will travel to Dublin for the remainder of his break. We all love Dublin, and always have a great time there.
This year will be different, though. A friend from the dada group is already there, and will leave Thursday evening, so she and Ben have arranged to meet for lunch on Thursday shortly after we arrive. And two of my nephews, who are living in Germany—one spending his junior year abroad, the other stationed on an Army base—will travel over to join us. I love and miss them both, and can't wait to see them—but I imagine that they, and Ben, will disappear for long stretches, to sample aspects of the city's nightlife that wouldn't appeal to the older generation.
It is all fine. I am thrilled that Ben has such an active and fulfilling social and artistic life, and I never complain about vacation time alone with Bill. But I miss those nuclear days, and I am exquisitely aware that this is Ben's last high school vacation.
Life is change, and I know that people are happier and more engaged when they give up the effort to stop the flow. But I wish there was a way to travel backward, even just for an hour. Maybe two.