Monday, May 08, 2006

Field Day of Dreams...NOT!

Today was Field Day at our fifth grade son’s school. I look forward to helping at Field Day every year, yes, because I love my kids. And because I just can’t wait to work the coveted “Hip Hugger” game, in which eager elementary-aged partners rush toward the finish line, hugging each other like mad to keep a ball between them. It’s a responsibility I do not take lightly.

But, truth be told, I love Field Day because our school has the best Field Day T-shirts ever. Trendy, cool, original—the envy of all those other unfortunate schools who do not have a professional graphic designer on their PTA board. Most importantly, our Field Day shirts have VOLUNTEER emblazoned clearly on the back for all to admire. When I wear it to Walmart, I just know all those behind me are thinking, “Wow, she’s a volunteer!"

Now, realize, volunteering is no small feat for me, with two preschoolers and a university-model (aka part-time homeschooled) eight year old to arrange for. Yes, I was on top of this project: older kids off to school with almost nothing forgotten, babysitting arranged, lunches ready (thanks, Hubby) -- the whole she-bang. The T-shirt lay, pressed and waiting.

Until the awful realization:
The two-year-old has chicken pox
(yes, even with the vaccine).

I thought it was just a mosquito bite, that North Star on her forehead. But then there were those three on her back and two on her tummy. And the clincher: she’d been exposed exactly ten days ago. My plan for an awesome Field Day at our school – dashed to smithereens.

Oh, I suppose I could have snuck her in, conveniently avoiding the route past the nurse’s office. She’s acting just fine. But all my son’s friends just love the baby sister. And let’s not forget, all those mommy-like fifth grade girls (who incidentally think my son is cute) would be all over her, wanting to carry her and her six not-quite-crusted pustules over to the Cow Patty Pitch or the Flipper Run. That would never do. I’d be guilty of infecting the entire school (however well-vaccinated, apparently), with what, only three weeks left? No, I couldn’t possibly face that. I must keep her, and everyone else, for that matter, home.

Now some other lucky mom will get to declare the winner at the Hip Hugger station. She will be the one to blow the whistle and tell those deceitful cutters to go to the back of the line. She will know the joy of wearing the Field Day shirt, now enhanced with an intoxicating mixture of mud, sweat and sunscreen.

Of course, I still have my T-shirt. But will I now forever feel guilty wearing it, feeling those admiring stares from behind, and knowing full well I did absolutely nothing to help our deserving elementary students, except to keep them free of a terrible communicable disease? Wait a minute, maybe I did do something, after all!

Okay, I’m wearing it. Even if it’s just to give the little one an oatmeal bath.

Technorati Tags:
Field Day, Elementary School , Volunteer, Chicken Pox, Mom

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