The Chaperone

This week my son’s second grade class went on a field trip to the New England Aquarium. Last year, his first grade class went to the zoo and I applied to be one of the chaperones. I was not picked. I applied again this year, and this time I was chosen to be one of the chaperones. I was excited, but then I got nervous at the prospect of being responsible for other people’s children.

It fucking ruled.

I had a bit of an advantage. Not only was my son in the group of kids I was chaperoning, but most of them were kids I already knew from his first grade class, and they knew me. One of them is his bestie. Another says hello to me every afternoon at pickup as she walks to the bus. I was already “in” with most of these kids.

It still fucking ruled.

Several awesome things happened on this trip, besides the thrill of going to an awesome aquarium. All my kids wanted to sit near me on the bus ride there and back again (except for my son, he sees me all the time). All my kids not only listened to me and my instructions, but came up with a plan to see the exhibits everyone in the group wanted to see. When it was lunchtime and it was discovered that I’d forgotten to pack my own lunch, my kids offered to share their lunches with me. The trip concluded with an educational movie in the IMAX theatre, and not only did all my kids want to be the ones who sat next to me, but when my son’s bestie was nervous (the abruptness of ocean predation was startling to her) she put her hand on my arm for comfort.

But perhaps the most unexpected delight of the trip was the kid in the group who apparently thought I was the coolest dude ever. He was originally supposed to be with another chaperone, but a last minute change put him with me. When he learned this he pumped his fist and went “Yes!” He insisted on sitting beside me on the bus ride, to play road trip games and chat. He had very nice things to say about my son, including “He’s really smart!” He even asked if I was going to stick around in the classroom after the field trip.

But what made it unexpected was that this was the last kid I would have thought to be the one to gravitate towards me; decked out head-to-toe in sports team clothing, wearing a gold chain with a cross, and having a design shaved into his hair, with interests mainly focused on said sports and cars. Life has a way of surprising you.

This trip fucking ruled, but I’m worried it may have ruled too hard. If I’m ever picked to chaperone another field trip, it’s going to have great difficulty living up to the gold-standard of this one.