It was Xandra and Jeremy’s Sports Day today.
In the past we have been “those involved parents”. You know…..the ones helping out in the classroom, helping the teachers with photocopying or with crafts or field trips or at the concession stands at sports days or family fun nights.
You need someone to help out. WE ARE HERE TO SERVE.
This has always been our “way” of doing things. And then……
Then I lost Nathaniel and yet I still plowed on. Then we had the other 3 losses and I still plowed on. Then I got pregnant with Siah and still plowed on. Then my brother just about died in a crash with a semi-truck and I took a tiny break but still I plowed on. Are you sensing a theme here??? Then I had Siah and planned on plowing on, but I realized that I needed to take “sometime” to focus on just us…..and I did still end up heading back into the school to help out but during that time off something shifted.
That became the BIG QUESTION for me.
See, I do think that if it’s possible, that it’s a good, and even a GREAT, idea to be somewhat involved in the school that your kids go to.
1. If you are involved then the teachers actually get to “know” you.
2. The “knowing” leads to relationship and SO MUCH BENEFIT comes from relationship.
3. If there are any problems with your child, it is so much easier to navigate those murkey waters from a position of relationship.
4. If your child needs extra help academically, the “relationship” that you have with the teachers means that you will get better treatment than those who are fringe parents….is this a “fair” thing, nope, but it is what it is…
Relationship is everything. So much in the “real world” is in “who you know”….it can make or break you.
BUT….I have found that finding the balance is SO important.
Am I there? No, in fact this past year has been a wicked brutal year for us and I have probably swung way to far to the other end of the spectrum and and am desperately hanging off the threads of the past few years of relationship to carry me through this year.
Jon and I got hired in town (Vancouver) in January of this year and we live out in the Fraser Valley and that means that typically 3-4 days a week we make the hour’s commute in and then again at the end of the day and we have just been basically trying to survive. All of this with one pre-teen (that right there is enough for a crisis all on it’s own) who is also in her first year of late French Immersion. One other pre-teen who’s moods can flail from one end of the spectrum to the other within the space of 5 minutes. A son with ADD/ADHD who is struggling with all that entails, and a baby. It’s been a bit of a wild ride the past 6 months. Add selling off a part of our company and still maintaining the other part of it….and yah, it’s rocked!!!!
One thing that has TOTALLY fallen off the radar is school volunteering.
We walked onto the school yard today and hearing the comments of “it’s been so long since we’ve seen you around here?” and “You’ve been so busy, eh?” and all the other little comments just nailed home to me how brutal it is to live under all that pressure.
It’s amazing how guilt sits like a cloud around the school.
We attended the Sports Day today. That’s it. We could have offered to help. We could have squeezed some blood out of that stone and given some more of our time and our selves and yet we chose not to.
We chose to focus only on our kids. We went. We cheered them on. We took pics. We bought them junk food from the concession stand to celebrate the day and then we left before it all finished.
It felt HORRIBLE and yet AMAZING.
I felt like we were letting the other parents down by not “doing our part”. I realize that if there are no volunteers then a lot of fun things won’t happen, but sometimes you just have to enjoy your kids without the pressure and responsibility of making it all happen for everyone else. And today…..was that day for us. And I determined that I was going to enjoy every minute that I was there. It was so nice to just “be there” for our kids.
I’m already feeling the pressure of having to start all over again and building relationship with the teachers and principals at the kids new school in September. But I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do it for good reasons and within boundaries that work for me and don’t lead me to feel like I’m giving everything that I have or being taken advantage of.