Yesterday was field trip day, and my daughter begged me to come. We need chaperones! You must come. She reminded me of the previous year when I did not. So I spent 11 hours with a gaggle of wee ones at a theme park. Fun :D...really!
There was a bit of a rough start, as buses always make me have to pee, and not going before I left, my coffee tortured me much of the ride there. Worse, the girl behind me was crying from the same ailment. Can you tell the teacher I have to go? she asks me, I can't hold it!
I felt her pain. Literally, I did. Eventually the bus had to stop at a gas station midway and the girl was escorted by the teacher. Another student popped up and said she need to go, but the teacher declined. I decided I would just hang in there too. Getting off would have just been the 'I'm a parent, so I can pee at the gas station even if you can't' thing. (Later, waiting in a long line, I discovered standing on only my left foot lessoned the pee pain, and did my own grown up version of the potty dance. Bend right leg like a flamingo, straighten leg. Bend, repeat).
But I wasn't completely sure I was going to make it. Even in the midst of my pain, I was not oblivious to this time warp of the bus ride. Fifty 11 year olds, one big yellow bus. Singing classic bus songs. Take me out to the ballgame. If you're happy and you know it. I was just waiting for 99 bottles of beer, but you can't win em all. Kids making the signal at passing trucks to honk their horns, laughing when they did. Rich kids & poor ones. Beige kids & brown kids.
The shy ones and the ones that could barely contain their excitement. I'd been here before.
Kids were showing off Silly Bands, or Zany bands, little rubber band bracelets in various colors and shapes. Which ones do you got? they'd say. I traded for this one...
My own daughter was feeling pretty good, two of her silly bands glowed in the dark.
Ha. Off the bus, We had a gaggle of girls, four in our group, then five. Two quiet, two loud, one somewhere in the middle who announced at every ride that 'she was not going to ride that' & at every ride was coerced by the others, then discovered it was no big deal. The kid rode rides they couldn't pay me to- she was a great sport. My own girl, painfully shy and quiet, yet incredibly happy. She feeds off the craziness. I stood outside photo booths packed in like clowns in a mini car. We'd pass other groups in matching tees & they'd start buzzing.
Giant cola icees in souvenir cups, cruddy pizzas and in one instance, a Bucket O' Fries. (It was disgusting, but the kids wolfed it down, bragging about it's salty goodness). Kids emptied their pockets of ketchup packets, and couldn't wait to ride again. & you pair nasty park food and spinny rides, and you get a little puke here and there, but everyone survived. Back on the bus, my daughter crashed, her head on my shoulder the whole way home. This is the life.
I know that public schools are criticized heavily for their inadequacies and testing standards, and too many things to mention. You thow your kid in a random underfunded place full of germy kids, occasionally licey kids for 6 hours a day, 180 days each year. Some parents expect too much. On the other hand, some parents expect too little, opting for homeschool.
Yikes. The homeschooling parents have already heard what I'm about to say, their witty replies on bumper stickers of their minivans, Proud Parent of an Unsocialized Homeschool Kid. But I'm going to go there. (Just for a second)
I'm neither for or against Homeschooling. & in the same instance that one might wish to homeschool their kid, there is a parent doing it in the exact opposite direction. One home may be very Bible or religion based, not wanting their kids taught in a non-Christian environment. Others may just feel they can teach their child better themselves or that public school puts too much pressure on kids. (I don't actually have any friends with kids, any, & I'm just not a social person, so homeschooling would be like cell time for my own wee ones in our case).
But there is a beauty in the fact that your kids are thrust in the midst of other kids that are the opposite of what you are.
As a UU, i'm led to concoct in many ways my own path to God, and my personal path believes that God created all the people dramatically different in outward ways and thoughts in order for us to find the core.
Because maybe it's the same.
God threw us all in a giant public school and said, Learn to Love ALL OF IT.
Kids are still trading bananas for twinkies. & if your kid gets a ball to the head during kickball in the gym? It's still going to be attached, and the maple gym floors still echo the sounds of those kids, oddly thrown together. Gym kickball. God, I love it. & speaking of echoes, I can still hear the random songs of yesterdays bus.
I think that we all have paths we're supposed to travel & certain people we're predestined to connect with. You'll find who you're supposed to. This is where the Social defense of public schools for me loses it's strength. Each life lived holds purpose. There is no wrong way.
Blowing my 'God is Pro Public' school out of the water :).
Who knows if you're actually even choosing your childs path,
or if the path you choose is the one that they already decided on.
I'm going off the deep end, huh? :D
One more moving target pic for the road :) almost!