Hey, it’s yeshiva week — what are you and your family doing?
Well, I am old, and my kids are old, so yeshiva week is just a reminder that I am too old to have kids who are still in yeshiva. Actually, come to think of it, all three of my kids are still in yeshiva, just not a yeshiva that has vacation. And when the folks who go to my kids’ current yeshivas do have vacations, they do not go to the same locations that those kids who have yeshiva week go to.
Are we all following this?
At my kids’ yeshiva, the Van Saun Zoo is a vacation hot spot. Or a hike in Monsey. Or a trip to the mall. Or, if they are really posh, they go to the Bronx Zoo on a day that isn’t Wednesday, when the zoo is free. They make their own sandwiches, milk their own cows for beverages, and never let their children convince them to buy anything from a gift shop because there are usually many, many children. Yes, I am being a little facetious, but hey, that’s why they pay me the big bucks.
Some families take yeshiva week very seriously. A cruise, Mexico, a trip to Mexico to go on a cruise; I hear that Panama is very big this year. Hawaii, Chile, Uzbekistan, Mars — the vacation hotspots are endless. And then there is Florida. Always a good and practical location, and usually involves the mitzvah/good deed of visiting some form of grandparent or elderly relative.
But what about the families who cannot go somewhere for yeshiva week, or any week for that matter? What happens to those kids? I seem to recall that my kids used to get a letter, addressed to the parents, that children who are going on a business class trip to SomeplacenotinBergenCounty should be sensitive to the children who aren’t able to go anywhere. Honestly, some years, we were that family that, gasp, stayed home. Oy, nebach. So so sad. Not really. The best memories my kids probably have is their all-night video game marathons against each other. My three monkeys always knew that if they were playing something together, no matter what it was, it made me happy. The fact that none of them ever seriously maimed anyone is more of a miracle than the fact that they now all wear black hats and attend the aforementioned yeshivas. Really and truly.
One of my favorite Facebook friend memories is the woman who complained that none of her children brought her back anything from any of their vacations. One child went skiing, one child was on an island somewhere, another was at some other exotic locale. I private messaged her that she should try to be sensitive to the fact that there are people who, gasp again, cannot afford to go anywhere, and here she is complaining that her children, who were all in different locations, didn’t bring her back anything. (And I am pretty sure that she was away as well, though, as the author, I have poetic license to be not exactly correct in my recollections of this event.) The ending, however, is 100 percent true. She told me that my reaction was totally unfounded and then she unfriended me. Ahh, the horror. Seriously? Yes, my grandmother was correct, if we could only see ourselves the way that others see us…But what can you do?
Husband #1 and I like to look back on one of our first family vacations to the Rocking Horse Ranch. Even though the food was really, really good and all of my kids (and Husband #1) had something to eat, it was outrageously expensive (for us, anyway) and ridiculously cold. Oh, and we thought that Son #3 might’ve been at the bottom of the pool, but thank God he wasn’t, and that is for another column, most likely titled “Why some people shouldn’t be parents.
In any event, if the food is good, you forget the other reasons, but we never went back there. There were also those memorable stays at Great Wolf Lodge, where the check-in and checkout times are so ridiculous that you spend hours guarding your belongings while hoping the lifeguards are making sure your kids don’t drown because you can’t be in there with them because, well, like I said, you are guarding your belongings. Good times, kids, good times.
This year, I am running Babka Winter Camp and our activities include supermarket scavenger hunts and playdates with other people’s pets. It’s in Strudel’s parents’ price range, and Babka couldn’t be happier.
Just remember, it isn’t where you spend your time, it is how you spend your time.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is happy when Strudel is here because Husband #1 lets her leave the heat on…