You’ll never guess what I did this weekend…
It involved 3 charter buses, 3 band directors, 15 parent chaperones, 140 middle schoolers, a five hour trip to north Texas, an overnight stay at Embassy Suites, and an all day visit to Six Flags.
And yes, I was one of the 15 parent chaperones. It’s official, I’m insane.
The thing is, when your kid gets to middle school and high school there is this huge decrease in the number of ways you can get involved in their school anymore. The plain and simple truth is, they just don’t need you that much anymore (at school anyway). So when this opportunity came up, I kind of grimaced about it, but I knew somehow I’d be on that trip, crammed into a bus with a bunch of stinky 7th & 8th graders.
Amaleah did not really appreciate my desire to go on this trip, mind you, and on more then one occasion mentioned how it would be nice if I wasn’t on her bus and if maybe I didn’t try to parent her. To which I countered with telling her I hoped she didn’t try to teenage me (pretty clever response, ay?)
I didn’t think I was going to know any parent that was going on the trip, and Amaleah’s sensitive side came out as she worried I’d be lonely (bless her). I assured her I could meet and make new friends, and I did. But God graciously orchestrated another mom to be on the trip that I already knew, which was perfect, and we honestly had a wonderful time, even though we hadn’t felt that exhausted in years.
Thanks to technology, the bus ride to and fro weren’t all that loud. And thanks to overhead DVD players and random teenagers’ movie selections, I was able to view Napoleon Dynamite again (which was all I ever remembered it, really great), and caught up on the Back to the Future series (which has way more cussing and inappropriateness than I ever remembered).
All the bands managed to receive the highest marks at their competition and earned themselves more trophies to line the walls of the band room. And let me just tell you, trying to coral this many junior highers all carrying instruments, keeping them quiet in the process, is like trying to herd 140 cats. Can you even imagine doing that? But it worked out. These kids really are pretty great.
I managed to secure my own hotel room (nothing a little money can’t buy), because I know myself and I knew I’d need a few moments in private in order to accomplish this giant task of chaperoning. And sure enough, while I was enjoying those two minutes of alone time, drama had started with one of the girls rooms I was in charge of, which of course just so happened to be the one my very own adorable daughter was in. So off we went to work those issues out, and thankfully the only thing Amaleah was guilty of was trying to be a good friend and rescue another sweet girl from being left out by another friend.
Six Flags was a whole other experience. We arrived at 9:30 am the next day and didn’t leave until 7pm, and apparently every other band from Texas and Oklahoma decided to embark on all Six Flags had to offer as well, which is why the shortest line for food was an hour long. I felt so sorry for all the families who innocently showed up that day not knowing it would be the world’s worst day to visit an amusement park.
A couple of the moms and I did our own tour of the park, riding the mini roller coasters and the train and any other dorky ride, including the old timey buggies, in hopes that our girls would walk by and get really embarrassed. But they never did. We even contemplated getting our faces painted and buying those huge obnoxious hats and competing in the lip sync contest, but realized our kids would never walk by and we’d only be humiliating ourselves so we thought better of it.
The ride home was uneventful until two kiddos decided they needed to go #2, affectionately referred to by the retired army vet bus driver as “thunder,” so we had to stop at a subway because the kids had already been warned that only “rain” should enter the bus-potty or else the wrath of Mr. CC would come down, and nobody wanted that.
Finally, we made it back, safe & sound. And because no junior high trip is complete unless someone vomits, almost the exact moment the bus pulled to a complete stop, someone started throwing up. Thankfully another parent was there to the rescue.
As it turns out, middle schoolers are pretty fun and kind of endearing, from the girl who felt the need to apologize repeatedly just to cover all her bases, to the boy who dropped his mouth piece down his tuba and had to tip it over and pour it out (who also had to sit on a 2 by 4 in order to even be able to play that huge thing), to the boy who asked me for some of those Papa John peppers to put on his pizza who seemed to instantly be my friend when I brought him some, to the kid who’s last name is (wait for it) “Butts” and is endlessly harassed for that but seems to take it in stride (poor kid).
My biggest regret though, was not taking enough pictures.
I came home to an amazing night’s sleep, and woke up to breakfast in bed from my youngest two, followed by snuggles and tickles. Life doesn’t get much better than that.
So now what’s in store for my life? A few more field trips with the kids, petting and snuggling my poor doggy that had to go in for a “smoothie” cut today and will likely come home looking like a large rat, and hopefully a few full days of writing before summer hits in all its glory.
I’m hoping to finish up my hospitality series this week and next. I’m realizing that starting a series always sounds fun to me, but finishing them usually ends up overwhelming me and making me feel unworthy to even discuss the subject, as though I’m some kind of an expert.
and through it all, somehow my peeps just keep growing….