Monday, September 1, 2008

NEVER VOLUNTEER! Part 1: Field Trips

This the first in what could be an endless series on the perils of volunteering.

What could be more enriching to a school child than a field trip? It always sounds like such a great idea -- let's take the class to the petting zoo/fire station/science museum -- they'll love it.

In our poor district, there are no buses, so field trips mean parent drivers. Five 6 year olds in your car can be cute. Five 11 year olds in your car can be migraine-inducing.

Driving annoyances aside, I never expected to have any issue with the subject matter of a field trip. I always blithely signed up to drive, carefree non-working mom that I am. So when Drama Girl announced last year that a movie had come out from a book they'd just read, I agreed to drive kids to the special morning showing.

The movie was "Bridge to Terebithia," and I had never read the book. If you've seen this movie, you know what happens. For the rest of you, let me just say:

Bridge to Terebithia spoilers ahead!

The movie is sweet and heartwarming, with cute and perky little AnnaSophia Robb helping her young costar come of age through the magic of imagination. Wonderful Disney stuff. Sweet and charming.

Right up until the perky little star dies in a terrible accident.

I lost it. I sobbed. Most of the other parents sitting with me were in tears too. Someone had some kleenex. Someone passed some napkins. We're talking full-on snot-snorting crying. Right up through the end of the movie.

Then the lights in the theater went up.

"Could I have all the parent drivers please stand so the students who came with you can find you?"

At that moment I hated that teacher, hated that movie, and hated that I'd volunteered to drive. I'm sure I looked great, standing there with my red swollen teary eyes. Oh sheesh, how did I get myself into this?!

Possibly one of my uncoolest moments ever.

Learn from my mistakes. The next time someone asks you to drive or chaperone for a field trip, be sure you wont become a blubbering mess. I recommend you stick to petting zoos.

Coming in parts 2-417: "PTA committees and why to avoid them."

13 people stopped folding laundry to write:

angie said...

Bridge to Terebithia is one of my all time fav. books.......I cry/sob every. single. time. The movie was no exception! :)

Cheryl Lage said...

Oh Dear...sounds like I was in school when reading "Where the Red Fern Grows." Bless your easily touched heart! (Embarrassing maybe, but nice that the kids can see grown-ups have emotions too!)

Side story: When I chaperoned a kindergarten field trip to the petting zoo last year, the bus I was on with my son's class passed the local regularly picketed abortion clinic. And at the risk of "outing" myself, I'm as pro-life as the next gal, but I DO NOT appreciate an over-zealous man waving his easily read by my son "ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN" sign (thankfully with no photos) intentionally at our SCHOOL BUS for crying out loud. Ugh. As we passed, Darren said "WHAT kills children?" I just stammered "Honey I think that is a crazy man."

In this instance, I actually wished I could be chaperoning on BOTH classes...who knows what my she-child said...or if she saw "the crazy man."

To chaperone, or not to chaperone...that is the question...

(Sorry for the diatribe...raw nerve still on that experience...)

noble pig said...

It is a wonderful book, you had every right to cry!

Anissa Mayhew said...

why not just take all the kids to a showing of "Terms of Endearment"?? THANK you for letting everyone know that volunteering isn't always part of the wonderful world of mommyhood. I know you got my back!

mames said...

thanks for the lovely comment and for the warning. i am that one too, the one you can find trying to muffle my sobs as the credits roll and i mourn whatever happenstance of the movie just viewed. i will recall this sage advice when the time comes.

Laura said...

You KNOW I am a crybaby.
Middle school girls see that whole "We cry at movies" as a rite of passage, so you were just showing them the sisterhood as it really is.

Kelsey said...

I sobbed through the whole book!

What A Card said...

I cry just thinking about that book! You may want to try Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson if you feel like a good cry...there's another one that I couldn't keep a dry eye through.

Hee, and I get you about the volunteering thing, although I'll probably be right along with you over-volunteering. It's because I'm a bossy control-freak. How could I *not* volunteer?? ;)

Oh, and I took most of the weekend off from the computer. I wasn't quite as committed as you as I had to pay bills and of course snuck in a few email/blog checks, but it was still...interesting. I love me some computer :)

Lidian said...

Field trips around here mean herding kids on the subway. Too much fun...not. Especially when first grade boys decide it is fun to break from the pack and play on the escalators. Et cetera.

More grey hairs from that! It's all behind me now, the field trips that is, not the grey.

I cried trying to summarize "The Velveteen Rabbit" for someone recently, so I'd have needed a big box of Kleenex at that movie too.

Widney Woman said...

LOL!! That brought tears to my eyes - laughing, not the death of the heroine.

Jocasta said...

I saw the movie heavily pregnant with m and j - my husband sprung me from the hospital for a couple of hours. I fell asleep half way into and woke up after she had died so not crying for me as I had slept through the sad part!

The Glamorus Life said...

I find this particularily hysterical given my PTA Volunteer post of yesterday. Nothing better than a field trip from hell to remind you you're living the GLAMOROUS LIFE. Thanks for coming to the party!

Candid Carrie said...

Hi - Marcy sent me!

Remember that movie, Terms of Endearment? Everybody says: you've got to see it, you can't miss it, it is so good. No one says Debra Winger dies at the end, no one says you are going to ball your head off the entire second half of the movie!

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