About 3 weeks ago Madeleine, my youngest daughter who is in 8th grade, brought home a permission slip for a fieldtrip to an Armory. The permission slip also asked for parent volunteers to serve as chaperones. My first reaction was "no way do I want to spend my day off with a bunch of 8th graders at an Armory, of all places". Now, before you take away my Mother of the Year Award, I should note that when my girls were little I signed up to chaperone absolutely anything and everything that I could. And I was always disappointed if some other parent won the chaperone lottery for a particular event. But I will admit that about 4 years ago or so the bloom was definitely off the volunteering rose. I still attended all the events at school that were open to parents and I still did my fair share of chaperoning. But, my initial reaction to this particular trip was thanks but no thanks. Then mother guilt reared her ugly head and I decided to ask Madeleine if she WANTED me to chaperone. She said she didn't really care. But did she really mean it? I couldn't be sure. Then it hit me. THIS would be the absolute last field trip I would EVER have an opportunity to chaperone. As in FOREVER. I decided to do it. I signed up. A week later the trip was canceled because not enough kids sent in the voluntary $26 donation to defray costs. Off the hook! Yay! I did feel a little sad, though.
Now don't feel too bad for me - yet. A week or so after that a woman from the PTO called and asked me if I would be a parent chaperone at Career Day which would be held at the Middle School. "Luckily" it just so happened to be planned for one of my days off. Lucky me! Remembering that my opportunities to interact with my daughter this way are quickly dwindling, I felt as though this was my second chance to have that last experience. I said yes! (I'll take that Mother of the Year Award back now. Thank you.) I was told to show up at 8:30 am. Fine. Being anywhere where I have to be showered and dressed by 8:30 am is a stretch for me. Add to that Madeleine missed her ride to school and I had to drive her at 7:30 am and you have the makings of a hectic morning full of angst and wolfing down breakfast. (Not to mention no time for my regular morning bloggy time. Humph.) Anyway, I make it to school with minutes to spare. The woman who called me is in the lobby, but I don't see any other moms. What the heck! She sees me, her eyes get big with surprise and she says, "OH NO, didn't I call you? That's right I called everyone except you because I didn't have your phone number on my list. I don't need you till 9:00 am. But that's OK, we have coffee in the library." At this point I wanted to choke her. But I didn't. I told her as nicely as I possibly could, that I would leave and come back, because I had some other things I could be doing. Did she really think I had nothing better to do that day than spend 45 minutes sitting around waiting to spend 3 more hours sitting in a classroom listening to adults describe their professions to a bunch of bored 8th graders? And why did I need to be there anyway? All the presenters were adults - presumably parents of students in that very school. The reason was so that if something went wrong (like what? Someone throws a spitball), the presenter wouldn't have to deal with it. Whatever. Now I remember EXACTLY why I stopped volunteering in my kids' schools all those years ago. In any case, my volunteer duties are now officially over. It's the end of an era. And I couldn't be happier! (I will happily relinquish that Mother of the Year Award now. Any takers?)