I am "Mom" to twenty two first grade children. In some ways it's a pain. In a lot of ways it's so much more rewarding than I think anyone else - including myself - realized it could be.
It all began last August. I took Will to his Meet The Teacher night. Still only three months in to my new gig as a Stay at Home Mom, I was coming to a point where I realized all of my days in this new gig involved a swimming pool and a picnic lunch. Knowing that even in Texas the weather will eventually phase out that style of parenting, I was trying to decide what to do with the time in my days that usually were spent running around creating reports, statistics, and databases.
On the wall was a sheet to sign up as Room Parent and Assistant Room Parent. I've spent my entire working life as "assistant" something or other, so I figured I was qualified to do that. That, to me, meant whatever Room Parent needed me to do I would do. And I'm a very good assistant. Personally, given the choice, I would always rather be First Runner Up than the star of the show.
The thing about First Runner Up is that if the winner cannot perform duties...
The thing about Assistant Room Parent is that if no one signs up to be Room Parent...
I found out a few weeks before the Silent Auction that I had gotten a promotion. I also discovered that not only did I need to flounder through putting together a basket for a silent auction that I needed to plan a party for Christmas. I needed to come up with snacks, games, party favors, and crafts for 22 first graders. I needed to fit all of those elements into a 50 minute party.
Anyone can wrestle a bear for a little while. Right?
Except there were two more parties. Valentines and Spring. And I am not a craft person. At all.
Somehow I've come up with enough crafts, games, and goodies to get through a school year. It's been costly - I won't lie. If you have to pick a time to be promoted against your will to Room Parent, I highly recommend doing so in a good economy. Because, chances are, people will want to donate to your party then. I'm having no luck. So I shell out my "walking around" money for parties.
Here's the thing, it's worth it. It's worth it to spend time preparing for the party, agonizing over the crafts, giving away my "walking around" money. Because I get to spend 50 minutes with 22 first graders who are hopped up on fruit juice, candy, and cupcakes. I get hugs. I get "thank you"s. I get "you're the best"s. I get more hugs. And some more. And they're all delighted to see me. For 50 minutes of that party I alone am the one they are happy to see. And my joy overflows because it's so unexpected and so worth it to see their sugar induced happiness as they delight over the world's crappiest crafts that the world's worst craft person made up.
And it's so worth it that I only have to take one of those sugared up, hyperactive, messy kids home.