How many times have we reminded our small children, “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” and expect them to understand what the hell we really mean? Many of us lean on this generic phrase of wisdom usually in hidden fear that our child is a lousy athlete or a certifiable sore loser. Even though my daughter loves to hula hoop, but sucks and my son only has interest in playing with his own balls instead of kicking the ball on the soccer field, I am a strong believer in delivering encouraging mantras and relaying positivity to help my kids feel like champions and always give their best. But that was me last week, before I entered the race for, “Class Chaperone” and all my optimism, fairness and humility went to shit. It all started with an email exchange. A note went out announcing my son’s preschool class would be taking a trip to a petting zoo. I immediately responded and offered to volunteer. Honestly, they could have booked a class trip to the water fountain, but since I just re-entered society from my shocking loss as “Class Mom” at my daughter’s school, a second chance at becoming “Senior Chaperone” became very personal to me. Plus, this was my son’s first field trip ever. I had to be the chosen one. However, my tactic as first responder to the call of duty was met with stiff competition. Other members of the school mom squad were vying for the same position. And the teacher declared a lottery would be the deciding factor. Of course, all my strategic hard work at kissing butt, massaging egos, and coffee gift cards couldn’t win me a spot on the field trip since the chaperones were chosen by random. When the names of the lucky parents were announced, mine was not one of them. I was foaming from the mouth; crossing names off my kid’s birthday party list and plotting how to make my best friend disappear for the day. Yes, she took my spot. It was my son’s first field trip, his first time on a school bus, first time visiting a farm, all firsts I would miss because someone didn’t choose my name out of a hat. Should I really let chance determine my success or failure? I was not ready to accept the defeat. I demanded I go anyway. The school obliged. “Ha-ha-nanny-nanny-boo-boo.” But there was a catch. I would have to drive myself to the destination and pay for my entrance fee. I was so focused on the victory that neither constraint bothered me, until I realized, just maybe, I am teetering on the edge of poor sportsMomship. I was torn. Do I want to experience a memorable occasion with my son, by being awarded the title, “Your Mommy is a crazy bitch” who crashed the field trip or do I accept my loss, squeeze into my big girl panties and let my adorable 3 yr. old ride this one out on his own? The feeling of failure consumed me. But justifying my juvenile behavior would haunt me. I gave myself a multiple choice test. Which first is more important to me? Chaperoning my son’s first field trip or…
1.Witnessing his first touchdown at his football game?
2.Meeting his first girlfriend?
3.Taking care of him the first time she breaks his heart?
4.Being the first to cheer him up when he injures himself?
5.Watching him drive away when he first gets his license?
6.Holding his head up over the toilet the first time he gets drunk?
7.Buying him his suit for his first real job?
8.Helping him furnish his home when he buys his first house?
9.Being the first person he confides in when he is ready to get married?
10.Be the first to tell him he’s gaining too much weight?
11.Being his first contact when he is in trouble?
12.Hugging him tight when he has his first born?
13.Telling him he needs to grow up when he has his first fight with his spouse?
14.Be the first to tell him when he’s being an ass?
15.Telling him how proud he makes me?
Wow. I guess I overreacted. Who wants to smell like stinky horse shit anyway?!