I wouldn’t say I’m an overly involved parent when it comes to events, fundraisers and helping out at my daughter’s school. Of course, I try to lend a hand when it’s needed and I do participate in special functions, but because of my busy work schedule and the fact my office is over an hour away from daycare, I’m unable to just pop by for a visit or to help with lunchtime holiday parties.
I send in treats when they’re requested, chip in when funds are needed for extra projects and sign up to provide whatever art materials are needed for seasonal crafts. I just can’t ever seem to make personal appearances like some of the other parents do.
On Friday, however, I was able to help plan and assist with a going-away party for my daughter’s teacher, who is moving to west Georgia. Once per quarter, Reese’s school dismisses the children at noon on a Friday. My husband usually handles “half-day duty,” but having taken the last two noon dismissals, he asked me to step up. It’s only fair, but since picking Reese up at noon means leaving work at 10:45 a.m., I decided to just take the day off and, instead, work all day Saturday.
That left me free to help with Friday’s party. The festivities were to begin at 11 a.m., so I arrived at 10:45, and it’s a good thing I did. Through email, all the parents of the children in Reese’s class had orchestrated the party — who would bring what, how much everyone should chip in for a gift card, what foods would be served, how we’d keep it a secret from the guest of honor, etc. I thought we had it all figured out, but when I walked in, the place was hopping.
A few other parents had decided to give the party a bit more flair by enlisting the students’ help in creating a goodbye art project for their departing teacher. There was a lot of paint, glue, markers and poster board changing hands. Still others had gone above the call of duty by bringing in large bouquets of flowers and an impressive edible arrangement of fresh fruit and chocolate covered strawberries. Gift bags bursting with tissue paper littered the counter, and several other moms had arrived even earlier than I did. Wow, I thought to myself, they’ve really gone all out.
I immediately felt like I hadn’t done enough, and jumped in to help with the preparations by setting out food and washing the art project participants’ hands. With 14 2- and 3-year-olds, three teachers, six moms and one dad, chaos ruled the room. The children were all excited that many of their parents were there, and the knowledge they were about to ingest a lot of pizza and sugar left them reeling.
It was hard work getting everyone seated and served, but all the mom volunteers got the job done pretty efficiently. The students appeared to enjoy themselves, and the teacher we were honoring was flattered and grateful that such an extensive effort had been made on her behalf. She certainly deserved it, though, since we all really appreciate the job she’s done with our children and it’s apparent that she truly loves them.
I’d deem the party a success, and if they’re all such hotbeds of activity, my hat is off to the parents who are able to help more often than my own schedule permits. I’m actually not sure I’d want to be there for every event, but I’m certainly glad I now have a better idea of the how such things work.