May 2, 2011

Field Trip!

It’s that time of year again. Field trip time. I start to get anxious when spring rolls around, because I know the permission slips will start coming home from school. It’s not that I don’t enjoy going to the zoo (again) or the museum (again), or that I begrudge the $5 it costs me for each child to go on these learning adventures. Nope. It’s the chaperone form that really gets me anxious. Every time, without fail, both of my children start begging, simply begging, for me to be a chaperone. And I would love nothing more than to ride on a school bus that smells like 20 years of packed lunches and gym clothes (really!) and corral a bunch of elementary schoolers through the polar bear exhibit. But sometimes, I just can’t find a way to make it work with my busy schedule. I never really understood what “juggling” meant until I had children and became a working single mother, but it’s really not until field trip time that my tradeoff becomes glaringly apparent. Sometimes, I just have to say no. I am so grateful for the parents (moms and dads, grandparents, you name it!) who are able to happily participate in every school event, shepherd every field trip, volunteer at every school activity. These other adults, who stand in when I can’t be there, never judge me or my children. Instead, they take pictures and report back to me, they hold my child’s hand in the snake house, they help unwrap the sandwich that I’ve packed, and they help me keep doing what I do every day. So I guess when field trip time comes around, what I should really be thinking is that I’m incredibly lucky. So I’ll sign the permission slips without guilt this year, and be grateful for the community of parents I’m a part of.

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