Last week my daughter presented me with a permission slip for an upcoming field trip to the science center. She then proceeded to beg me to sign up to be one of the chaperones. She really wanted me to sign it that night so she could take it back the next day since chaperones were going to be chosen on a “first come, first serve” basis. I will admit that initially I got a little flustered with her persistence. Given that she presented this to me also right in the middle of dinner clean up and bed time routines, I told her to put it on my desk and I’d think about it. Dejectedly, she did so. This is my sweet little six year old who is in first grade and been begging me to volunteer in her classroom or chaperone a field trip since she started Kindergarten. When she started school, , I had just had our third child, so I was less inclined to leave our newborn/nursing baby for long periods of time for things like that. I told her this year though that I might be able to help out a bit more, and this is one of the first real opportunities for that.
Being a stay-at-home mom does make helping in these ways a bit more possible, even though there are still logistics to work out like who will watch my two younger boys while I’m gone, especially since this is an “all day” field trip, making sure my calendar is clear for the day, oh yeah, and of course, there’s that little thing of blindness. Darn it for always complicating things. So, I felt like I needed some time to think this over before volunteering for anything. Later that night, I did end up signing the form and checking the little box that I would be available to chaperone. Much to the delight of my beautiful daughter, but I felt a little anxiety in doing so. Not because I don’t think I would be a good chaperone—I have years of running summer and after school programs and am used to keeping track of a number of school-age children–not to mention, I have three of my own that I look after every day independently. Rather, I worried about whether or not her teacher and the other school officials making the decision about who would go would believe me capable. Who knew something as simple as going on a field trip could carry so much weight? The other hard part of all of this is that I had to try and explain these grown up issues somehow to my daughter who was beaming with excitement at how fun it will be for me to join her that day. I explained that while she and I know that Mommy and daddy are capable of doing these kinds of things (did I mention we also have a membership to the science center and go there often?), it may still take some convincing her teachers about it. I explained to her that they may have some reservations about a blind mom coming along, but that we’d see what happened, so she shouldn’t get her hopes up just yet. Then, we still had to make it through the lottery of other parents signing up too.
It’s been a couple of days now and I haven’t heard anything from her teacher. I don’t know exactly how or when the chaperones were going to be selected and part of me feels like I should email her teacher and try to nip any concerns that may pop up in the bud before they do. I have this fear that while I may have been in the first batch of returnees, I won’t be selected and that it will just be told to us that we didn’t make the “lottery”. Guess I’ll never know. My one little saving hope right now is that we have been present at a number of school events so her teachers and other staff have seen us and hopefully have a favorable impression of our abilities. The other bright spot is that two weeks ago, my daughter’s teacher invited one of her best friends and neighbors to come and speak to the first grade . Her “best friend” happens to be a blind para-Olympian swimmer with whom I am also acquainted, so, maybe the teacher has some positive perspectives on blindness and my worries are all for not.
I’m feeling a little anxious about the whole thing. I really hope it works out as I know my daughter would love it. But then what if it does work out? That brings a whole other level of anziety to me in trying to prove myself. Why are these things never easy? In any case, we’ll see what happens. To be continued….,