What Children Remember About Spring Break

This morning on the walk to school, a little boy tells us his plans for Spring Break. 

All week, we’ve been hearing what other families will enjoy. Between discussions about Disney World and indoor water parks, I’m jealous and sad.  I think about everything my children will miss out on. 

I think about “the good life” and how deprived we are with this tight budget.   I pray for a way out of this bad mood. 

Last year, we drove to New Jersey and then spent a day in New York City.  I took pictures of all the wonderful things my daughters experienced.  Every American family knows, after all, that you’re not really a good parent of daughters unless you visit the American Girl store. 

Back then, I believed the myth that children need fancy in order to feel loved and enjoy their lives. 

Feeding Birds in New York City

So this morning a little boy tells us that he’s going to New York City.  My youngest daughter turns to him and says, “I went last year!  You will not believe how amazing the birds are!” 

The birds?  What about the restaurants, the museums, the shopping?  What about the doll hair salon and the toy stores? 

She doesn’t mention any of it.  What she remembers is sitting on the steps of a building and feeding the pigeons with me.  That lasting memory–the one she cherishes and talks about–cost nothing.  She goes on and on and on about feeding birds

Living with flair doesn’t mean fancy or expensive.   Sometimes I just think it does. 

Journal:  When I’m tempted to think happy memories mean fancy, how can I remember that the best memories often cost nothing?