May 7, 2014

Field Trips, Twitchy Eye and the Duggars

Just when we thought this school year was never going to end, we have found proof that it actually will-field trips.  Field trips are fun.  I've been on 2 in the last week.  I accompanied Corrina to City Museum and Kennedy to the St. Louis Zoo.  My favorite thing about this was unexpected one on one time with my girls in places we would normally never venture without the entire family in tow.  It was a lot of fun.
Possibly the world's largest underpants

About a million years ago, when I was a kid, field trips were different.  My mom packed me a lunch, slathered me in sunscreen, handed me a $5 bill and sent me on my way as usual.  At school, we boarded a bus with our teachers and maybe 3-4 volunteer moms.  The teachers and these moms wrangled us around whatever venue, we acted like mental patients, then went home and told our parents how fun it was and how good we were.

Today, every kid is accompanied by a parent, some have both parents.  We drive ourselves, meet our kid, spend the day with them, take them back to the bus and meet them back at school.  This is a wonderful set up for parents, kids and teachers (who get a free day in a cool place).  For someone with slight social anxiety, this can be kind of hellish.
fun mirrors did not make me look much thinner. bastards.

First there is the meeting of the parents on the playground to determine ride sharing.  For someone with social anxiety, this is the equivalent of being last picked for the kickball team.  It's horrible.  There's always the chance that someone will actually offer you a ride.  It takes a while to answer this question.  You sit there with a strange look on your face while you consider all that could go wrong if you get into a car with 3 women you barely know.  After a while, you smile and decline, not realizing until later exactly how long it took to answer the question.

When you get to your venue, there is a lot of waiting around for kids to get off the bus.  This is the stuff nightmares are made of.  Sitting around in a group with all these people who are chatting and conversing because, well, they're normal people.  They form normal relationships.  Hell, they form words and even that is more than you can muster.  Every once in a while, someone will take pity on you and try to strike up a conversation.  When this happens, all you can manage is a twitchy eye and some strange noises that never quite form words but might be mistaken for a yea or an oh.

School functions are terrible for people with social anxiety.  I keep fighting the urge to run off screaming and never be seen again, though.  Showing up and having people think I'm strange, bitchy, standoffish, possibly from another planet or maybe a serial killer is much better than telling my kids that I just don't want to go.  I don't know how I got this way.  To some degree, I can see that I've always been like this, but it seems to have gotten worse when my kids started school.  Hopefully by showing up and fighting my way through, I can keep my kids from turning out this way. 

Side note:  The Duggar family was at the zoo the same day we were.  Though I was avoiding parents, I had no problem trying to hunt down Michelle Duggar and become her BFF.  However, Kennedy wouldn't let me.


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