"Mom, I signed you up to chaperone a field trip," Big Kid announced. "Are you available February 5th?"
Guys, remember how I quit volunteering? Like, four different times, but for really really real last time? With a recent holiday party relapse but still determined to stay the course?
Well, he looked so...hopeful. Excited. I was overcome with relief that I must not be that embarrassing to be around if he volunteered me. Never mind that volunteering others isn't really a thing that should happen. Of course I was going to be available.
"Yay!! Yes, of course I'll be available. So, you already signed me up? Or you want me to ask if I can go?"
"I already signed you up!"
"Cool! Where are we going?"
I'm still not 100% clear on where we are going but it includes the word swamp so I'm pretty sure it's not the Philharmonic. He seemed to be waiting for a reaction when he said it, like he knew I might not be overly excited about a swamp visit.
"Wow! Super fun! That's awesome, I bet it will be beautiful. Just get me the details and I'll be ready!" He looked relieved.
A few days later--"Mom, I got the details of the field trip. You can drive or take the bus, but they said it might be a tricky drive. Also, you need to wear pants and shoes you don't mind getting wet and ruining. We're going to be in water."
"Oh, huh." I said stupidly as I tried to make an appropriately happy face.
"I know, I know...I started thinking that maybe this wasn't a good fit. I even raised my hand and asked if the chaperones would have to get wet and she said yes--"
Quickly stifling a mortified laugh at the thought, I interrupted, "No! I'm totally excited about the swamp walk part! I was thinking about the driving. How they said it could be tricky. I mean, do you want me on the bus with you?" He shrugged. "I mean, I think I could make the drive no problem--"
I drive a Volkswagen Jetta.
Also, I was not thinking about the drive, I was thinking about swamp water. And a little bit about riding on a bumpy bus full of 6th graders. I'm just being realistic here, people. I can do some of these things but can I do all of those things?
"I was worried about the water part," he started again, looking regretful, preparing to launch into some sort of apology.
The thing is that I do NOT want to be the mom who wouldn't march right into a Florida swamp full of snakes and alligators and bacteria for the sake of her 11-year-old's education. I am adventurous. I am the mom of boys. I am fun. I am all about experiences with them. I could survive encephalitis (but probably not a panther attack--again, some of the things, not all of the things).
"Do not feel bad, I am super excited! I've done it before--I love stuff like this, it's amazing. In college I went on a four hour walk through the Everglades where the water was up to our waist at times." And I fucking hated every minute of it. And it was one of the reasons I officially decided that my relationship with science would be an affinity from afar. The thing about the Everglades is that people don't really belong out there, like an alligator doesn't really belong in a country club pond, and this was all very obvious the moment I waded into that dark, cold, quiet water. "It will be a really cool experience, I'm glad we're going to get to go together."
And I am glad we get to go together. I am genuinely honored that he wants me there. I will walk through the swamp water in wet jeans and tennis shoes and I will be the picture of enthusiasm about it. Because that's what moms do.
(But I don't have to ride the bus, right?)