There is a running dialogue that is held at our house a minimum of twice a month. It usually goes something like this:
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Mom, did you remember I need a bag lunch for my field trip.”
Me: “When is the field trip?”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Ummm…I don’t know. Maybe tomorrow.”
Me: “What do you mean you don’t know? How am I supposed to remember when YOU have a field trip if YOU don’t even remember YOU have a field trip??”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Mom. Why are you yelling?”
Me: “I am not yelling. I CAN yell, though, if you’d like to know what yelling sounds like.”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Gosh, Mom. I just need to know if you remember I need a bag lunch. It’s not that big of a deal.”
Me: “How is it not a big deal? Do you want to be the only kid on the field trip, WHENEVER IT EVEN IS, without a lunch? Do you want to be THAT kid?? Do you want all your friends and your teachers to think we cannot afford food? or that you aren’t loved?”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “I think you are acting crazy now. Maybe you even ARE crazy. I just need a lunch…for whenever the field trip is.”
Me: “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PACK A BAG LUNCH WHEN I HAVE NO IDEA WHEN THE FIELD TRIP EVEN IS???”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Now you most definitely ARE yelling.”
Me: “OH YEAH KID! YOU HAD BETTER BELIEVE I AM YELLING NOW! I NEED TO PACK A LUNCH FOR A FIELD TRIP THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHEN YOU ARE LEAVING FOR AND SOMEHOW I AM SUPPOSED TO REMEMBER SO THAT I CAN MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A LUNCH LIKE ALL YOUR FRIENDS WHO HAVE MOMS THAT ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION AND KNOW WHEN THEIR CHILDREN WILL BE LEAVING THE SCHOOL CAMPUS!!!!”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Mom, seriously. It’s like you are losing your mind. You signed a form. It had all the information on it about the field trip. And I’m pretty sure it’s tomorrow.”
Me (basically on the verge of a full-on aneurysm at this point): “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I SIGNED THE FORM?? WHAT FORM? DO YOU MEAN ONE OF THE 64,000 FORMS YOU BROUGHT HOME THE FIRST WEEK OF SCHOOL THAT HAD TO BE FILLED IN WITH BLUE OR BLACK INK ONLY, NOTARIZED BY A NON-FAMILY MEMBER, AND THEN COPIED IN TRIPLICATE AND RETURNED IN THE MANILLA ENVELOPE THAT I AM SURE I MAILED COUPONS FOR METAMUCIL TO YOUR GRANDMOTHER IN???? IS THAT WHAT YOU MEAN? THOSE FORMS? THE FORMS THAT ALWAYS HAVE ALL THE PERTINENT INFORMATION, LIKE WHEN THE BLESS-ED FIELD TRIP EVEN IS, ON ONE SIDE AND THE PART WHERE I SIGN MY NAME ON THE OTHER, THEREFORE GUARANTEEING THAT WHEN YOU TURN IT IN I IMMEDIATELY LOSE ALL OF THE INFORMATION I WOULD NEED TO AVOID THIS CONVERSATION???? IS THAT THE FORM YOU MEAN????”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Ummmm…I have no idea what the right answer is. I think those are the forms I’m talking about.”
Me (trying to get it together so the neighbors don’t call the police): “Listen, I just need to know when the field trip is so that I can make sure you have a lunch. Is that too much to ask? Surely at least ONE teacher today would have mentioned if the field trip to which you are referring is tomorrow, right? Surely they don’t just expect that it was mentioned ONE, SINGULAR time and that you all would remember?? I feel pretty sure that if I were to march into the school RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE the date of the field trip would be written in dry erase marker in EVERY, SINGLE classroom you visit EVERY, SINGLE day of the school year. Is that what you want me to do?? March up into the school right now??”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Mom, it’s like 9 o’clock at night. The school is closed. And locked.”
Me (trying out some yoga/meditation breathing I accessed via a youtube video one time): “So, just to make sure I am understanding you. You need a lunch. A bag lunch. For a field trip. You are not sure when the field trip is, but I signed a form giving you permission to go, so somehow I must know when you need the bag lunch. Is that about right?”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “I feel pretty sure this is a trick question. Is Dad around? Maybe I could ask him.”
Me: “Please. Feel free to ask your father. I am sure he will know. And please feel free to let him know all about this trip you are going on. Where are you even going?”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “I have no idea where we are going. If I knew that, I might remember when we are going.”
Me: “There is no logic in your statement. I do not think I even gave birth to you. Anyone I gave birth to would be sure to remember when they would be boarding a bus to leave the actual school campus to go to wherever you are all going. Anyone with my genes would know when the trip is and where the bus is going.”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “Oooohhh yuck, Mom. I don’t need your jeans. Just a bag lunch. Maybe it’s on the website.”
Me: “Oh yes, PAAAHHLEASE let me access the website. That’s always fun. Let me search around hither and yon for the username and password that I can never remember. Let me see if I can navigate through all the notifications about the girls only meeting and the book fair, and the sports schedules for the week, and somewhere BURIED IN THERE LIKE A TREASURE JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND, will be the information which I seek. I’m sure that will be exactly how that goes.”
Unnamed Middle Schooler: “I think I’ll just pack a lunch tomorrow just in case. And would you happen to have some spending money? I think we may need some, for wherever we are going.”
Y’all think I’m kidding, I am sure. But, I assure you this happens.
Every. Single. Time.
Teachers, can you help a mother out here? Can you please just make sure those dang forms with all the pertinent information are printed so that I can keep all that info at home? I know that when I need to cut that bottom portion off I will grumble and complain that I can’t find the scissors, but that’s a problem for another day.
Please & thank you.
And so there is that…