Every end of school year is the same yet different. I have learned to buy enough panties to offset my May laundry vacation. The result, no more kindergartener attending the last day of school "commando" because of my laundry fail. Now we are seasoned elementary veterans with 5 years experience under our belts. Kids who sleep til 7:30am, already on summer time, pick something relatively clean to wear, down some instant breakfast and put their shoes on in the car. All nonessentials, like glasses are left in their hiding places. At T minus 3 days and counting, today's classroom agenda consists of board games supplied by students, another non essential. Let more motivated parents go on a scavenger hunt for dice and game pieces. The only way we ever provide for game day is by going to Target the night before, buying something and sending it to school unopened. Even then, there is a fair chance an important piece will end up missing.
With all these strategies in place, we still manage to hit some bumps. Field day was Friday. Even the name implies ants and bumps and potential holes to fall in. For us, the holes are in the planning. School shirts should be worn, real tennis shoes, hopefully with socks, sunscreen, bug spray, sack lunches that could be thrown out and swimsuits since water is now part of the festivities. This is an excellent improvement since Texas and field day go together like ice cream and ovens. I remember sweltering as a kid.
Not only did the girls need to be prepared, but so did I. In one of my efforts to not appear like the oldest, stodgiest mom on the block (I am the oldest, stodgiest mom on the block) I volunteered to work both sessions at a "water activity". The coach at our school is wonderful and set up stations with squirt guns to be squirted at cans, at ducks, at ping pong balls going through little hockey goals. The games were clever and well thought out but why on earth would any kid with a sponge or squirter aim at anything nonhuman? By the end I looked and smelled like wet dog. This is normally not a problem BUT, I had a Friday night concert to attend. This is completely out of character for me. It takes a Herculean effort to get me off the couch on a normal a Friday night. Field day evening, I am comatose by 7pm.
What on earth was I thinking? Well I wasn't. I do this all the time. Months earlier when tickets went on sale to go see U2, who was going to be in town a week before my birthday, AND the Joshua tree Tour, the same concert I had seen 30 years ago, well good God man, that just screams meant to be doesn't it? Sooo, two weeks ago when I signed up for field day volunteer, it did not even register they were the same day.
Again, no big deal, just some pre-planning which I can do if properly motivated. Field day was over at 2pm, I would get the kids and bring them home with me, pack my bag (that fell off the radar in the midst of swimsuit, yearbook, sock hunting the night before), and be to Melissa's by 3pm. We were staying at a La Quinta by the stadium, I would shower there and worry about looking concert cute at some point. At the very least, I needed to remember a razor, cute might not be practical but attending U2 as a Sasquatch could certainly be avoided.
By 2pm I had informed the teachers that the kids would be coming home with me, and I would be in the front office waiting. All they had to do was retrieve backpacks from classrooms and we were set. I told the girls not to change since they would not be riding the bus.
I stood in the office with all the other volunteers who had, just told their children the same thing. And I watched as all the other children promptly entered the office and left with their parents while I waited and waited and waited until 2:30pm when I was practically fuming. I was about to tell the school my children would be riding the bus when out bops Helen. I wanted yell at her but, she had the glow of field day and thinking she was leaving school an hour early (now only 15 minutes). Instead I opted to fall dramatically on the floor feigning death by shock that she had finally shown up. In retrospect this is probably more horrifying to an eleven year old than screaming. I look up from the floor "would you go find your sister before I really do die of old age, right here in the middle of your school entry." Luckily the second lolligagger was just arriving. I realize they changed clothes. "Why did you guys change? I told you not to." "Oh Mom, no way to be in those gross wet clothes another minute," they fail to even notice I am laying on the floor in gross wet clothes, "and the girls bathrooms were all jammed up with people changing. It took forever." "And then," says Helen as we are walking out the door, "there was the other issue, I lost my panties. So I am commando." I look at her horrified. "So your panties are now floating around somewhere in the school?" Helen looks at me, eyes wide, "No Mom, thank GOODNESS, I found them on a desk right as I was leaving. Can you imagine if someone in my class happened upon that? I mean how offensive."
We walked out to the car, another commando moment survived.