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Along For the Ride

It is Spring Break again, that wonderful time of the year that means topless drunken antics for some and all day playground antics for others. (Guess which activity is mine!)

Not me.
Yup, my kid has no school. All week. I bet your kid has no school either. For some of you this means holiday camp and playdates and trips to Florida. For us it means movies and playdates, more time at grandma's house, a trip to Washington DC at the end of the week, and a lot of commuting from one martial arts school to another. We still have classes at our dojo for most of the week. And Matthew and I have no intention of skipping a week of BJJ just because there is no school. So Maya comes with us. Everywhere.

Like today. Today Maya and I will be enjoying a delicious pizza lunch at L&B in Brooklyn, after which we will meet Matthew at his BJJ place and drive uptown to the dojo, where Maya will hang out, like she does every Tuesday, before taking her own class at 4:45 and then being picked up by her grandma. Tomorrow she will most likely meet up with a friend in the morning and then have lunch somewhere with Matthew while I go train. On Thursday I will probably take her with me.

Maya actually likes it at my jiu-jitsu place. Everyone is very nice to her there. She sits in the corner of the mat, leaning against a wall and drawing pictures while I work on passing the guard. Sometimes she looks up and waves at me. She knows where the bathrooms are, how to get herself a snack out of my bag and most importantly, how to entertain herself for an hour.

It's a fair trade. During these ten vacation days, Maya will also spend lots of time running around the playground. We will play games with her, draw with her, visit fun museums with her, and spend an awful lot of time playing princess. Not to mention the hotel pool at 9am. The cold hotel pool. At 9am.  So don't worry, she will get to do a lot of fun things that are specifically meant for her. But sometimes she will also tag along on things that are meant for us. She will follow us to our daytime classes, as well as on the necessary dog walks and supermarket trips that make up our daily existence.

When Matthew was a little boy, his dad used to use his old red van to deliver magazines very very early in the morning. Sometimes, Matthew would go along for the ride, often nodding off in the back of the van, while the sun rose over the city.  I have very fond memories of attempting to jog around the Central Park Reservoir with my dad, a former marathon runner, who would often take me out to run with him. Were they being selfish? Should they have hired a babysitter? Are we bad parents for making Maya sit alongside our weekday training sessions? Wouldn't she be better off in camp?

Actually, we have found that Maya is in a better mood on the days that are balanced. She also behaves better. Honestly. Often times that we spend all day doing things that are exclusively for her, she is brattier, less agreeable, less willing to accept a no when it finally comes. But the days that include a park adventure and an ice cream treat, as well as a shopping errand and some spring cleaning that involves the whole family, are better days. Seriously.

Hopefully, what my daughter will learn from all this is that everyone should have time for themselves, and everyone's time is important. And that families work together to get everything done. And that being a part of a community is more valuable than yet another new plastic thing from Toys R UsAnd that mommy and daddy really like to choke people.

She can also run our front desk. Go ahead, ask her to sign you up for classes. She's got it down pat.

Happy Spring Break ya'll!


  1. Sensei, another very nice piece. I remember spring break, winter break, and other breaks, when Joey was Maya's age. Trying to survive those periods while still working, keeping Joey busy and safe and entertained —a tall order! He turned out great, despite some not-so-great teenage years (just like dad, I'd say).

    Sounds to me like Maya couldn't have better parents — someday she'll really get how much you have given her, in adult terms, anyway. She's such a sweetheart that she probably already appreciates all you two do for her, in kidspeak.



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