I took a few days off from work last week. I used one of my days off to chaperone Abby’s class field trip to the zoo. It was the highlight of my week. I was giddy with excitement for days. It was only when I arrived to school that I realized this was not the social event of the season for any of the other parents. Most were less than thrilled with the idea of carting 20 four year olds on the train to the zoo and they were preparing for battle. There was one other mother there of her own free will and when asked why she was volunteering herself, her response was “There are adults here. Sure, we’re outnumbered 3 to 1, but there are adults here.” And I realized why I was so excited about the field trip. My days are filled to the brim with adults. I leave for work in the wee hours of the morning when Abby is still sleeping. I see co workers and attend meetings. I am swept away by a sea of navy blue suits at lunch. I am surrounded by talk of numbers and spreadsheets and marketing strategies and all day I just think about getting home and talking about bunnies and fairies and playing tea party and dress up. So the idea of staying home from work and getting to share Abby’s first real field trip was a thrilling one, for both Abby and I.
Of course, we had a wonderful time. Toward the end of the day, when many parents were becoming tired and cranky, I ended up in charge of Abby, her best friend and a lively little girl who is fond of wandering off on her own. As we all walked hand in hand, crisis over who holds whose hand averted, one mother called me the four year old whisperer. I don’t think anyone has ever paid me a nicer compliment.
With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, I am thinking of the many things I am thankful for. One thing I am dizzy with gratitude over is having a child who is the best companion I could ever imagine. Of course, she has her four year old moments and of course, I take my job as her guide to adulthood very seriously. But she is mature for her age and I am juvenile for mine and, well, it works. We just have the best time together. She loves to hang out with “the aunties” (my girlfriends) and they love having her around. We can go to brunch or to a café and she is pleased as punch to be in the mix. I find the sound of children playing to be very relaxing so I enjoy going to the playground. When it’s just Abby and I left to our own devices for the day, we usually end up having a day that rivals any day from my carefree twenties.
Just this weekend we took the bus to get her a haircut, then went to a café for a bit. We then jumped on the bus to go to another neighborhood. I let her pick out some Christmas ornaments; she helped me pick out a lipstick, and we got some gelato. Then it was back on the bus to our own neighborhood and stops at the toy store and book store. Then we raced home to beat the storm that was coming and had a picnic dinner on the living room floor while watching the lightning and listening to the thunder.
In case you are wondering, I spent my other day off from work seeing Harry Potter with two of my grown up girlfriends who also took the day off work for the event.
Kindred spirits are another thing I am thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. What are you thankful for?