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Saying "No" Didn't Seem Like An Option

With Maddie entering her third year in public school, our family has seen its fair share of school field trips. Accepting the fact that my child would be hurtling down the highway at around 70 miles an hour without a seatbelt was difficult when she was in kindergarten, but I have grown to understand that I cannot control everything and must just let. Some. Things. Go.

That’s not to say I haven’t been along on those field trips – I’ve followed behind the buses and spent the day hanging out with my child and her classmates at the zoo/arboretum/pumpkin patch many times. Over the course of the past two years I’ve been asked to be an official chaperone, but was never able to because Cora wasn’t in school and children not enrolled at the school couldn’t ride the bus. So Cora and I would follow along, have a great time at the zoo/arboretum/pumpkin patch, then happily get in our quiet car at the end of the day and putter contentedly home.

But now Cora’s in kindergarten.

I now officially have no excuse for not riding the bus and being an official chaperone, so today I make my first foray into the whole in-it-for-the-duration thing. I am keenly aware of two things: one, I will not have a peaceful moment to myself, including pee time, until school is out and both of my children are staring at the television set.

And two, I’m about to be publicly responsible for someone else’s kids. All day.

Let me tell you something: my group of four or five kids will be the tightest formation on the block. We will not stray, we will STAY TOGETHER, and we will all pee at the same time WHETHER WE NEED TO OR NOT. There will be no chance encounters with creepy strangers in the bathroom, or happy meanderings through solitary paths. My heart can’t take it.

My backpack is loaded and ready, and every parent should pray that their kid is in my small group today. No child will suffer an ant bite/scratch by a rusty nail/bear attack on my watch, thank you. I have Kleenex, band-aids, extra water, a mini-flashlight (oh, sure, make fun of me now, but when a little kid gets scared in a dimly lit log cabin you’ll be thanking me then), and a bunch of other stuff I can’t tell you about because I’m not sure it’s legal for me to have them around small children. Swiss army knives are ok as long as I don’t let the kids play with it, right?

Am I a wee bit over-prepared? Perhaps. But talk to me after you’ve lived through 9/11, a couple hurricanes, and the Great East Coast Blackout of 2003.

Though all these natural and man-made disasters may end up paling in comparison to riding on a bus with fifty second-graders.

Is it too late to add a small flask to my backpack? For medicinal purposes, of course.


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