Monday, June 4, 2012

Tug of war (literal and metaphorical)

I got slammed at work right at the end of the kids' school year, which is always extremely busy with numerous end-of-year performances, parties, conferences, field days, etc. I managed to make just about all of it, but David had to take my shift at Elizabeth's May Day Play Day (that's "Field Day" if you went to elementary school in the late 70s/early 80s). Now lots of dads volunteer at May Day Play Day, mostly chasing the kids and squirting them with water guns and such--but I was signed up to do the girliest of the PTO mom activities: filling Dixie cups with goldfish at the snack station. But bless him, he covered for me, and my friend Greta (who was in charge of the snack table), texted me to tell me what a great job he did cheerfully handing out little snack cups. He's a keeper alright.

The following Friday was Jacob's field day, and work was somehow even busier, but I didn't want to ask David to cover yet another PTO shift for me. So I pulled something close to an all-nighter (which I am definitely too old to do) and made it to my shift at J's field day. I was a "class escort," which essentially meant that I had to walk Jacob's class from one activity to the next without losing anyone (which was easy given that I had both a map and Jacob's teacher with me).

I didn't realize how easy my job actually was until I observed my friend Anne in action at the tug of war station. As head of the tug of war activity, Anne had to come up with 30 minutes worth of different tug of war team variations. Class versus class. Boys versus girls. Alabama versus Auburn fans (because the assumption here is that you are clearly a fan of one or the other). Those combos got you approximately 8 minutes worth of tug of warring, so Anne still had 22 minutes to kill before the kids moved to the next activity. I would have crumbled under the pressure, but Anne dug deep and showed what a pro she really is: odd class numbers versus even class numbers. Fourth graders versus fifth graders. East coast versus West coast rappers. Etc. Meanwhile, I kept busy tending to the numerous tug of war injuries (mostly just water and TLC needed).

After not sleeping the night before and then spending several hours in the hot sun with a bunch of tug o' warring tweens, I was as bone tired as I've ever been that night. Jacob and Elizabeth were off at sleepovers (that they begged to attend) so I crashed into bed by 8:30, and shortly thereafter my cell phone rang.

I thought I heard Elizabeth's sweet little voice saying "Mommy? I think I'm a little homesick." I mean I heard the words, and I had a vague understanding that that was my child on the phone, but I just.couldn' So in one of my proudest mom moments, I said: "Huh? Let me find Dad." I stumbled around to find David and tossed him the phone (I later learned that somewhere in this process I actually hung up on Elizabeth and she had to call back - awesome.) David apparently told Elizabeth that he'd happily come and get her, but that he didn't want to drive across town to pick her up only to find out when he got there that she changed her mind and wanted to stay after all. She told him that that was exactly what was about to happen, thus sparing him the trip, and she went on to have a fun and uneventful sleepover.

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