Friday, March 9, 2012

fieldwork in stillettos

When my son started intermediate school, I foolishly thought my days of chaperoning field trips were done.

Wrong.

Keegan brought me a permission slip a few weeks ago and asked, in desperation almost, if I would chaperone a field trip. I kept my cool, accepted the offer, and signed the dotted line…then, ran to my room and squealed like a teenager while doing the happy dance. What a cheesewad, I am. ‘Who am I kidding?’ I asked myself. Often times, it exhausts me being around children that aren’t mine, which is so ironic since I’ve been involved with PTA and other school events since Fric and Frac started school so many years ago. But my son…MY SON…wanted me to be around…him…his friends…and teachers. I got my “cool mom” badge back it seemed.

So, yesterday morning was an extra early day, meeting at the school for a 7:15 AM departure. The kids loaded up in charter buses. (Yes, that means air-conditioning.) I hitched a ride in a van full of fellow mommies who I was meeting for the very first time. And we all caravanned an hour “into town” to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The science museum is one of those giant places that has the potential to lose a kid or two. So several hours with 12 year old boys and girls running around exhibits, not to mention other schools who are on their field trips, was a recipe for exhaustion and a possible Amber Alert or two. My level of respect for teachers and staff in the schools always increases ten-fold after one of these instances of volunteering. How everyday they wrangle 150 kids is beyond me. Beyond me I say.

But you know what? It wasn’t so bad.

My group of boys were well behaved, yes it included Keegan, and three others. All pretty chill, well behaved, stayed together - I didn’t have to put out a search party, they did what I asked. Pretty awesome. This doesn’t mean there weren’t other kids that needed to be rescued after straying from their group. (Dougie…cough<<ritalin>>cough) (And yes, children’s names have been changed to protect their security. Or keep me from being sued. Whichever.)

The school has plenty of eager-beaver moms who are more than willing to volunteer for these trips so I'm fairly certain that my inaugural chaperone experience may easily go overlooked in the future. I sure met a lot of great parents, some truly cool kiddos, and got an opportunity to lunch with my son’s teachers and get to know them on a less professional basis.

Either way, empathy is, commonly, more important than warmth, so I totally did the right thing. Even though I had to squeeze my feet back into stilettos today and park my butt in an office chair…to get some rest.

Furthermore, my son declared it "a great day!"

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