Glimpses of Fall Break

I could pretend that our family’s Fall Break was all corn and pumpkins and sunshine and magic. Because those things were a part of our extended weekend. The weather provided those crisp, clear October days that we dream about all year round. We slept in for three days in a row. We got to puzzle our way through a corn maze, together. We even ate Giordano’s pizza for dinner (they just opened a new branch of this beloved Chicago deep-dish pizza place in North Canton)!

But we also had to call for emergency roadside assistance for our mini-van, totally disabled, in the dead of the night, on a busy four-lane highway. We had to spend some time trying to fix our broken washing machine. Our refrigerator’s freezer started showing signs that it will need some attention soon, too. We experienced unusual levels of irritation and argumentation between the five of us. We had to deal with a child writhing in stomach pain, at one point.

It was not all fun and games.

But we got to at least enjoy some fun and games.

So how does one present a balanced view of such a weekend of family life?

We live in a visual environment — and the photos of pumpkin patches and pig races and hay rides are clearly the better visual images. Honestly, I didn’t even think to take pictures of the wet floor in our laundry room or the grumpy adolescent whining in the corner. There’s something about the human condition that makes us want to hold fast onto- and feature the beautiful things. The fun and games.

I’m still trying to decide if that’s a good thing or a hypocritical thing.

Honestly, it’s probably a bit of both. So I will say that it was ultimately a good Fall Break — even if there were some bumps along the way. We succeeded in spending some extra time together as a family — even if we didn’t love every minute of it. I’m not going to paper over the unsavory parts of the weekend. Strangely enough, I think one of the things we’ll remember and talk about the most — for years to come — is our broken-down minivan, Marci and the kids taking an Uber home, me hitching a ride with the tow-truck driver. It was stressful while it was happening, but the challenging stuff feels like a part of what made the weekend exceptional.

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