4th Grade Austin Field Trip
When I was a kid, periodically, parents would attend the field trips with their kids. My mom was so pretty and I loved showing her off (I wanted my peers to know this ugly duckling had potential!), so I always wished she would go. But, life gets in the way and she was never able.
Since I have a flexible schedule, I try to attend any and all field trips with my kids whenever possible. I couldn’t attend a lot of Courtney’s because I had “baby Kyle”, but I did go to some. Unfortunately for Kyle, I wasn’t able to go to most of his elementary field trips because I had babies who were not allowed to attend. We didn’t have day care; my husband and I alternated schedules to keep our babies in our primary care. It worked, but there were sacrifices that had to be made to make it work. (Sorry, Kyle! I promise I love you just as much!)
There are no younger babies, so I’m able to go, now, to most of Jace and the twins’ field trips. And, now, I’m semi-required (as well, I choose) to go to manage my boys’ diabetes. By law, the school has to provide someone who can manage their diabetes so they aren’t discriminated against. I don’t think it’s fair to request the school nurse go which would take her away from the entire student body. (Heck, maybe she’d like to go and get a day off! Who knows?) I don’t feel comfortable having a “designated person” to manage them who really doesn’t know them, their routine, or the intricacies of their care. I digress. Anyways, I’ve made every effort to attend with my boys because I like the time with them, I hope they cherish the memories that THEIR Mommy went to field trips, and I really am the best diabetes care-giver for them. I know them best. I am their pancreases.
I was selected to go to the fourth grade field trip to Austin. From 0630 to 8pm, I belonged to Jace, the elementary school, and the fourth grade. I have to be very conscientious to not let Diabetes dictate my life and take away from the non-diabetic kids. I made alternate emergency arrangements for my diabetic twins, and Daddy would be home when they got home from school.
But, here’s what a T1D Mom goes through. My boys have a great age-appropriate understanding of their disease. We have a fabulous REGISTERED NURSE school nurse who really cares about my boys. My husband is fantastic with them. But, as we got further away from Burleson, my anxiety level increased. On any given day, I’m within a few minutes from the school, a cell phone call away, to respond to any type of emergency or any of their needs. WHAT if my babies needed me? WHAT if there was an emergency? It’s not happened yet, but Murphy’s Law would demand it happen on the day I’m hundreds of miles away with no means to hurry back if needed. I felt vulnerable and out of control. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t fight it off. Big giant crocodile tears just started falling. Drop. Drop. Drop. I texted my husband just to vent how I was feeling. He was reassuring, of course, but the tears continued to fall.
I felt like a crazy woman. I didn’t want Jace to see me crying. This was HIS Mommy-time. I didn’t want any of the other adults to see my tears. I had to dab my eyes, take a deep breath, and pray. This is my life now. Too afraid to venture too far unless I know they are in caring and capable hands. Scared to death something will happen to them. Frightened they will need their Mommy and she won’t be accessible. I didn’t exhale until my husband told me he was home. Then, I knew it was all ok.
The trip was well-organized, well-planned, and Mrs. Boyd and I had 5 cool kids in our Group FIVE. It was cool to see things I hadn’t seen before (or don’t remember seeing) and helping the kids learn.
The day was llllooooonnnngggggg. As I’ve seen on many field trips, most of the kids are alright, but occasionally someone has to act out. This time, MY kid. Yep! JUST what I needed as I was just recovering from my heavy heart.
I love my son. He’s such a cool music-loving kid. He’s highly intelligent, and loves video games and computers. He is painfully shy. But, he’s wicked stubborn and can be temperamental. He has ADHD and is fantastic when his meds are active. When they wear off, the over-talkativeness, impulsiveness, attitude returns. So, the day was getting long, everyone was getting tired, and we were hurrying through the remaining TX History Museum exhibits so they at least got to glimpse each display. The kids were answering questions in a booklet, and we were helping them find (and spell) the answers. Jace was getting tired and distracted. At one point, he mouthed off and his little classmate even said, “Jace, don’t disrespect your mother!” I was handling it and keeping my cool well.
Well, Mr. My-ADHD Meds-Have-Worn-Off decided I was clearly moving too quickly and not repeating myself enough times when I helped spell simple words like CLAM and TREE TRUNK (words he clearly knows how to spell, but he wanted to be contrary). Since I’m Mommy, he can push and test (I hope and pray he would not have done this to someone else if I wasn’t present!). So, he pulled “A Jace”. Arms folded. Foot stomped. Refusing to do what was asked of him.
Back up a bit, at parent-teacher conference a couple of months ago, his teachers and I described two very different boys. For them, he’s kind, quiet, obedient. He keeps to himself. He’s like Jerry and me where we don’t let others in easily, but if we know you, we’ll talk your head off. So, he’s comfortable and loved at home, and he’s a screaming ninny. I’m very glad he’s good at school, but I wish he’d carry that to home every day, too! Now, back to the story.
I was terribly embarrassed and became quickly frustrated. His teacher took over for a few minutes while I used the restroom. I told her, “THIS is what I’m talking about! You get to see the real Jace!” Probably not my finest moment, but I was frustrated. We got on the bus where the attitude continued. I HAD to find a solution to this problem or it was going to be a LONG ride back home!
I told him his behavior was embarrassing to both of us and inappropriate. There were other and better ways from him to handle his frustration; I could’ve reviewed the answers with him on the bus. (Our pace didn’t seem to be bothering the other children at all). Regardless, I pulled out the Kindle Fire. I plugged in the headphones. I started playing some Bon Jovi. I gave him an earbud. Within a minute or two, you could feel the tension diminishing. You could see him relax and change his attitude. We were BOTH getting a little dope for our souls. It's what we both needed. At that moment, I KNEW this was MY son! A little Bon Jovi makes it all better!
Overall, it was a good trip…once I got passed the aching, worrying heart and the late-day attitude. I’m going to make Jerry go with me when the twins reach 4th grade.