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Spring Break with Friends, Family and Ex’s

We are on our way to our fourth annual spring break trip to Florida. We are sitting in traffic in Memphis as I write this. Yes, we road trip it. It’s about a 14-hour drive, but it makes for lots of family time. We might all get a little crabby at times, and my kids may bicker, but it creates memories that will last a lifetime.

We decided to do this four years ago with another family that we are close with. Our kids are friends, and they are the same age. It was a very of spur of the moment decision, but one that continues to grow.

One year we weren’t sure what to do for spring break. We had gone skiing the year before, and it was a debacle. My kids were young, and I had to carry all the skis, boots and everything else that goes along with skiing. My kids did ski school one day and my daughter, for the most part, picked up on it pretty quickly. My son, however, isn’t really the ski type. The day after the lessons he was with me. I had him between my legs as we tried to manuever down the bunny hill. I let go of him for a split second, and that kid was like a bullet out of a gun. I could not catch up with him. He was flying, and I kept yelling, “Pizza, pizza!” If you aren’t familiar with skiing, this is the shape you make with your skis to slow down. He could not get his skis to do that. The only reason he finally stopped was because he ran into a giant orange sign that said: “Slow down!” Luckily, he didn’t get hurt, but I had him back in lessons the next day. Needless to say, neither one of my kids fell in love with skiing.

So the next year I wasn’t sure what to do. We wanted to go somewhere but didn’t want it to be super expensive, like skiing.  I was talking to my friend at the park where we waited for our kids to get out of school and she mentioned that they were driving to Florida and that we should go too.  Spring break was about two weeks away, and I thought we would never be able to find a condo where they were staying. And, being divorced meant I had to divide spring break up with my kid's dad. A long drive for a short amount of time didn’t seem to be worth it.

Jokingly, I made a comment to my kid’s dad and said that they should consider coming too.  He is also friends with this other family, but never did I think he would really want to make that drive or want to spend spring break with his ex-wife. But, he said yes.  A little awkward, but we both managed to find condos close by to everyone and we decided what the hell. This meant we could keep our kids in one place for the entire spring break and it would be good for them to see us getting along. Hopefully!!

The first couple of days were weird, but as the week progressed the awkwardness dissipated.  We all had a great time. The kids loved it, and everyone got along. My ex and I are both remarried, and even our new spouses enjoyed the trip.

This is how our annual spring break trip begun, and now we plan it and do it every year, and we all look forward to it.  I know it’s not for all divorced families and some people think it is a little odd. But, it works for us, and the kids really love the fact that we can do this. And isn’t that what this is about anyway? Co-parenting at its best!

As my daughter approaches her senior year in high school, this may be the last year we do this. But, I’m keeping an open mind and telling myself that even in college we will continue this tradition as families thrive on tradition and traditions are what bring families back together.

In the meantime, I will cherish this trip and be in the moment as much as possible. “The best things in life are the people you love, places you’ve seen and the memories you’ve made along the way.”