This past week I chaperoned my very first school field trip. A second grade venture out to the Kortright Centre on the wettest winter day in Ontario ever.
I wish I could blame the reason for my lack of supreme chaperoning skills on work scheduling difficulties, which certainly come into play more often than not, but the truth is — and I really don’t know how to say this without sounding like a horrible parent and possible jackass — I have just never wanted to go. My kids get excited about visiting museums and Amish country and conservation areas and the zoo and I can’t say I blame them. When I was their age, there was absolutely nothing better than spending a school day somewhere other than school.
But now that I am no longer in school, these things are decidedly less appealing to me unless you are asking me to chaperone, say, West Beverly’s senior ditch day.
There are so many factors at play here, really.
There’s the I Still Look Like a Kid factor. I look like a kind-of-large child, who is going to listen to me? (Answer: no one who is seven years old.)
There’s the OPK factor (Other. People’s. Kids.) Kids are loud and and sticky and touchy and easily distracted and thirsty and have trouble making a straight line and messy and they always seem to have to pee at inopportune times and sometimes they even barf, especially in January (hello, gastro season!)
And don’t even get me started on the SCHOOL BUS FACTOR.
“I loathe the bus”
Be thankful I didn’t decide to become a teacher, you guys.
I don’t even remember signing the sheet, offering up my chaperoning services. I don’t even remember.
But then one day Isabella bounced through the doors all “YOU WON MAMA! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER! MY TEACHER PICKED YOU! YOU GET TO COME ON MY TRIP! YAHOO!” I doubt she was this happy in Disney World, even after we bought the Mini Minnie outfit.
She told every person she saw that week, including the bank teller and the pizza delivery man.
“My mama is coming on my trip…” she sang in her best sing-song voice to Rebecca the American Girl Doll, half excited, half neener-neener. My mama gets to come and yours doesn’t.
Her face lit up like Ryan Seacrest on New Year’s Eve when she saw me turn the corner with my fluorescent pink VISITOR sticker affixed to my rain gear.
She held my hand the entire day—she had never been so proud.
She never stopped smiling, even though it was cold and wet and it was a little squicky to hold the muskrat pelt.
She introduced me to all of her friends and classmates who told me adorable stories and wanted to hold my hand and actually listened to me and told me I was pretty and were hilarious and nice and sweet and fun (and no one barfed) and even though OPKs can be loud and and sticky and touchy and easily distracted and thirsty and have trouble making a straight line and messy and they always seem to have to pee at inopportune times they can also be quite lovely, even if they *do* have trouble with the straight line thing.
And even though the bus smelled exactly the way I remembered it—like feet and desperation and cheese and Axe body spray, I got to sit next to this face for the entire ride there and the entire ride home.
Don’t look now, but there might be a second—and maybe third—class trip in my future.
There just might.