Posted by Claudia Grazioso on January 9, 2012
Sometimes everyone in my house gets the blues at the same time — and this is one of them. We are, adults and kids alike, suffering from the post-holiday blues. It’s not that it was all as joyous and, ahem, stress-free as we like to remember now. It’s that Christmas is over, New Year’s is over and the only holidays in sight are the birthdays of a couple of dead presidents, a celebration of a dormant rodent and Valentine’s Day. (Parents, can we talk about Valentine’s Day? Inevitably, someone will get more or “better” Valentines than their sibling, prompting a crying jag. That’s not a holiday. That’s a crash course in crisis management.)
We should all be united in our misery, but unfortunately, the one bright spot on my horizon is the Biggest Gloom Cloud for my children: Christmas break is over. At first, I was utterly unsympathetic. I could barely contain my glee as I counted down the days to school beginning again. But as anyone with kids knows, when they are in a collective horrible mood, the whole house suffers. So as my kids moped around the house, groaned with dread over going back to school and warily eyeballed the backpacks in the closet with the long-forgotten notebooks and pencil cases, I realized I had to do something to ease the pain at the end of the Gorge-On-Sweets-And-Suck-Up-To-Santa season. This is what I came up with:
Exercise! Crazy but true, fresh air and exercise can do wonders for kids. This morning, I took my kids on a long hike in a nearby park. They jumped on rocks across a small stream, they played an exhausting game of tag, they found treasures like sticks and rocks, they saw Canada geese and they climbed trees. When we got home, they were remarkably happier than when we had left. I also am forcing myself to wipe the “Hurray! Back to school!” grin off my face and try to really understand their disappointment. I do remember what the last few days of school vacations were like — and they were horrible. All of the lead up, all of the parties and planning and special events and then poof! It’s all gone and the only thing to look forward to is summer. Which, to a kid, might as well be a century away. So when my oldest child flopped on my bed this morning and said she was sad, I gave her a hug and said, “I know. The end of holiday break stinks.”
Finally, I’ve decided to give my kids a little something to look forward to. We didn’t get to do all of the amazing things over Christmas break that we had planned, so sometime in February, I’m going to take them to a nearby amusement park that we didn’t make it to over the holidays. The lines will be shorter, the parking easier and the kids have something to make the long, bleak school days of winter a little less grey.