Mommy Hindsight: Field Trips

I was watching a conversation unfold on a friend’s Facebook wall about the typical daily details of having kids in elementary school. Wait wait, let me think….oh right! THOSE days! I remember them. Which makes me exhausted. It also makes me realize, with apologies to my age-bracket friends who still have little ones, I don’t miss some of those daily details. Like field trips….

For the third time I poked at the motionless blob under the blanket. “Time to get up, I mean it!  I’m not driving you to school if you miss the bus!” Nowhere in my Mommy Manual did it say I had to be compassionate before my first cup of coffee.

What The Blob said: “I AM getting out of bed Mawmm (whine moan) and I NEED money for the field trip!”

What I heard The Blob say: “If I don’t bring in my money and permission slip today I’ll be the laughing stock of the entire class.  You’re such a loser; I can’t believe you’d risk ruining your own child’s life and social standing this way!”

“Field Trip? Another one?” One semester we shelled out so much cash for field trips we had to give up buying meat — $15 here, $8.50 there and, as The Blob informed me, another $2 now due (bargain!) for a trip to the Glenn Center. I hadn’t a clue what or where the Glenn Center was and honestly, ten years later I still don’t.

Back then, I’m sure all the other moms sent in their money and permission slips on time, knew what Glenn Center was, plus could drive to it in their sleep and locate every county approved fire exit throughout the building. If it’s even a building. I figured it couldn’t be too fancy since it’s only a two dollar trip. 

I shuffled to the kitchen and stared at the piles. I had a highly organized system of household piles — no matter what it looked like to the untrained eye — that allowed me to locate any piece of paper within 2.7 seconds.  Unless of course someone, who shall remain nameless but has the initials h.u.s.b.a.n.d. messed with my piles…which he had the wherewithal to do over the weekend… conveniently prior to hopping the first flight to Jersey that particular morning.

There was no time to dig. I swiped a piece of notebook paper out of somebody’s backpack and wrestled the Brick Red crayon away from the dog. 

This note gives my daughter blah blah permission to attend the field trip on blah blah to blah blah place. I solemnly swear not to hold the school system responsible should anything unpleasant occur on this trip. Then again, bear in mind I might feel otherwise once I’m caffeinated. Enclosed is the money for the trip (that I was going to use to supply a year’s worth of rice to a child in Uganda).

Sincerely and legally yours, Karen J Rinehart

Karen Rinehart's columns appear Sundays in the Independent Tribune. Her website is KarenJRinehart.com.