Dani Klein Modisett: Christmas break, spring break and summer break are all looming large. They hang over my head like cleavers poised to slice open whatever veneer of sanity I have encased myself in since school began. If I don't want to sit in front of the TV with my hand in a box of cereal, flanked by my two boys, I'd better figure out how to plan ahead. And quick. Not that lying in front of the TV eating doesn't sound like a dream vacation to me; it's just not the kind of inspired "change of pace" my children deserve.
It's been sobering lately to realize that my "wing it" nature falls very short in the area of mothering. Impulsiveness leaves me vulnerable to desperate purchases at malls, spontaneous outings to Chuck E. Cheese and last-minute trips to family resorts that end up costing twice what they would have if they'd been booked in a timely manner (as in, before the day of travel).
In the past, whenever I felt the magnetic pull of mothers who ran their lives with year-at-a-glance calendars, I would hear that expression in my head about "the best-laid plans" -- you know, how they blow up in your face. (I'm paraphrasing.) Or the other one, about how we make plans and God laughs. Not wanting to be mocked by the Almighty, I'd shut off my computer and put away the camp brochures.
It's not like my kids didn't get some culture. There were the Balinese dancers at the Getty, the artist who painted sneakers in East L.A., the cupcake truck on Sunset Boulevard. But now they're older, and smarter, able to form complete sentences like, "What am I doing for spring break, Mom?"
I'm being kept awake at night worrying about how many hours there are in a day, especially when a second grade teacher isn't filling any of them.
Fortunately, it's not hopeless. I'm still young enough (which is not the same as young, by the way) that I can make changes in my approach.
I plan to get started on this as soon as I'm in the mood.