Over the past several months I made the smooth transition from over achieving IT person to overachieving mom. I knew I had hit my quota (in Luke’s eyes) as a field trip chaperone (stories for other times), but when I heard the 7th graders were going to see “He Named Me Malala”…well, I wanted to go. I asked if it was OK and Luke shrugged. I know that was a subtle way of saying “no thank you”, but I took it to me, “sure, chaperone another trip, Mother!” So I checked the box and never heard another word.
As the movie day approached I thought, “Maybe they don’t need me? Or maybe Luke unchecked thebox himself? I guess I should show up, because what if they are counting on me? But what if they don’t need me? What to do?”
In the end I decided I would rather be the weirdo who wasn’t supposed to be there, than the horrible person who didn’t show up when she was being counted on to keep track of 9 kids. But what time? And where?
I just went into the school at the beginning of the day and explained my situation. “Hi, i signed up to chaperone the trip to the movie, but then I never heard anything so I don’t know if they need me or what….” They said I could stay for the all school assembly or come back in an hour when they were supposed to leave for the movie. I chose to go home and put dinner in the crock pot.
An hour later I showed up again in the office and said my spiel. They still weren’t sure what was going on, and they sent me over to where the 7th graders were gathered. I asked a couple people if they had heard back afer they volunteered and they said yes, they had to fill out a bunch of paperwork. But, as a frequent volunteer I had already done that. So now what? I kept making polite conversation with people until I ran into someone who had the list of volunteers, instructions, and she was waiting on the check for the tickets. That combination of info would lead a normal person to assume that I was talking to a teacher, but, well. I told her my story and she showed me the list of chaperones. I was not on the list. But then I made it weirder and more awkward.
I thought she looked familar so I said, “Did you chaperone the trip to the art museum?” She said no. I said, “Oh, you remind me a little of a mom I met on that field trip.” And she said, “OH! I’m not a mom! I’m a teacher!” And I thought, “DUH” I said, “Oh, what do you teach?” And she said she’s a math teacher. And then, instead of slowly fading into a locker I said, “OH! That’s why you look familiar! You’re Luke’s math teacher!” (Parents of younger kids, FYI it’s totally normal not to know what your middle school kid’s teachers look like. Especially if you go to a wedding instead of conferences. BUT I did go to parents night, so that’s why I had a vague idea of what Luke’s math teacher looked like.) She said Luke had the best handwriting.
Then I decided enough was enough, I embarrassed myself in front of Luke’s teacher and I was like some sort of chaperone groupie trying to get on the bus. So I told anyone who was listening that I was going to leave since they didn’t need me. I stopped in the office to tell them too, and they said, “Oh no! Stay! We just bought you a ticket, the more the merrier!!!!”
Then I had to go back to the people I had just left and say, “actually… I am going.”
But I didn’t have to face my fear of not having a list of kids to watch, because no one was in charge of anyone, and there wasn’t even enough room on the bus. Fortunately for my extra-chaperone-anxiety they were more than one seat short. Another mom offered to driver herself and I said “Take me with you!” and we fled.
I did have to put my shushing skills to work because we were in the lobby for a loooong time. And why was that? Because the movie was corrupted. Instead of seeing “He Called Me Malala” we saw “The Good Dinosaur.”
I had actually spent 10 minutes complaining to Dave about a podcast that devoted 15 minutes to discussing how bad The Good Dinosaur was. Why talk for 15 minutes about a movie the podcast didn’t recommend? ANd I wasn’t ever going to see it, the kids hadn’t even mentioned it. Little did I know I would sacrifice my dignity and half a day to see The Good Dinosaur. I will say that it was better than I thought it was going to be.