Let's Go On A Fieldtrip
It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
The elementary school here has a tradition of taking their classes on big field trips. Not just a day at the zoo, but for overnight trips of three to four days. We had, in fact, only been in town a week when my daughter came home with the news that she was leaving for a week to a far off town with her class.
Send my then ten year old away for a week with a bunch of strangers? I don't think so! But before I could begin to enquire about childcare for my son, my daughter informed me that I wasn't invited. "Mom. The whole point is to get away from your parents and be independent. I can't really do that with you there."
She's always been articulate. It's my cross to bear that I ever taught her to speak at all.
I swallowed back my reservations and retracted the umbilical cord. She left and she came back and she loved it. As subsequent trips came up through the ensuing years, she made it clear I was not to volunteer as chaperone. I could stick to the year end pancake breakfast and go to Parent Advisory Meetings, but I had to stay off that school bus.
My son was soon on board with that. In those early years, he only went on daytrips, but through grades four and five he went away for the longer trips and suddenly he was going into Grade Six and I realized I only had two chances left to experience these field trips. I decided to skip the part where I actually ask my child's permission to chaperone and put my name in.
Now, anyone who knows me can tell you I moan and whine and grouse every time I have to make a trip to Vancouver so I don't know what possessed me to put in for this one. I think it was the knowledge that the next trip--my very last chance to field trip with the kids--involves tents. This one, I knew, would at least be real beds in dormitories.
Lucky me, I was chosen. Which instilled immediate panic because I suddenly realized what I was doing. Going To Vancouver. Again. Argh!
Meanwhile, my son suddenly realized what I was doing. Going On A Fieldtrip. With Him. He gave me The Look--the one that appears to be an ice cream headache shudder, but is really an attempt to make your mother spontaneously catch fire.
It gets better. The trip actually includes a visit to our Legislature, which means adding in ferry travel as we go that little further distance to Victoria. What that means is, the last day is a happy little thirteen hour jaunt on a school bus home.
I did the only thing a self-respecting writer could do: I bought a two thousand dollar laptop so I could record the trip in detail. Please follow along over the next few days as I chronicle the adventure.