Today is a big day for my Gracie. A really big day. A huge day. A day that she has been waiting for her “whole life!” Today, finally, after 6 long arduous years of waiting, Grace will get to go on a field trip. It’s finally happened. She explained the depth of her excitement to me multiple times over the past few weeks. You see, a few months ago we chose to pull the kids out of school to take a family trip to the beach. We pulled the kids out of school for a week in order to travel when Nick had time off from work. The ONE sticking point for our sweet kindergartener was that she would miss her class trip to see The Cat and the Hat performed on stage. She was beside herself with the angst of deciding between the two opportunities. She finally was able to agree that a week on the beach with her family was slightly more intriguing than a thirty minute live performance of even Seuss’s finest. And then the worst news ever came. The next class trip, a field trip to the farm, might be cancelled because of poor weather and not be rescheduled. Fortunately, before my daughter was able to launch a boycott of farms and public schools, another farm stepped up to the plate and the trip was back on.
Grace has been counting the days since the field trip was made official. Literally counting them. A few weeks ago my nephew Noah got to go to a farm field trip with his class. And then I took Will on a “field trip” a week or so later. There was a little jealousy. Now my Gracie is a passionate girl. When she loves something she ADORES it. Until she DETESTS it. But this farm trip held a new level of fascination for her. She told her teacher that her cousin had recently gone on a farm trip, too, and retold the teacher’s response to me amid cackles of laughter “She said, ‘maybe it will be the same farm!’ and then I said ‘He lives in Indiana!!’ hahahaha.” The energy level was high.
We got a letter home at the beginning of the week to let us know that the kids needed to bring a disposable lunch bag for the trip and that tennis shoes and sunscreen were recommended. On Monday Grace found a plastic fork in our drawer and pulled it out to announce to the whole family that NO ONE could use this fork. This fork was her field trip fork. She had to use it because Mrs. Grady said “ONLY DISPOSABLE!” She reminded me each time she opened the silverware drawer. “Remember, Mom, this fork is for my field trip.”
Last night she checked in to let me know that I could not, under any circumtances, send an ice pack with her lunch. Because she couldn’t dispose of it. She also got out a Lowe’s Foods grocery sack for me to put her lunch in. She showed me the green kindergarten shirt she needed to wear for the field trip on Wednesday. She reminded me last night. This morning she shot out of bed without me having to wake her up and was downstairs while I was still making breakfast dressed in her green shirt, drifit skirt, and socks and tennis shoes. (“I brought my shoes upstairs last night because I am NOT ALLOWED to wear crocs to the farm!”) There was a moment of panic when she was unable to locate the plastic grocery bag. Thankfully the crisis was averted because she was able to find another bag. At this point she made sure the plastic fork was still available. She also reminded me again about the ice pack. In case I was an idiot and tried to break all the field trip rules. “This is the first field trip I have ever been on in my ENTIRE LIFE!”
It was probably 6:30 when she began to ask about putting on sunscreen. Now I believe in the importance of healthy skin, but I also believe that Vitamin D is a good thing and that being outside to play in a hat is probably a better option than avoiding the sun at all costs. But Mrs. Grady said sunscreen. So she needed sunscreen. I managed to get her to wait until AFTER she ate breakfast to put the sunscreen on.
There was a moment of deep stress when Grace debated whether or not she should bring her backpack to school (it’s not disposable! but she needed to bring her folder in and her lunch sack!) We finally settled on bringing the bag to school being alright so long as she didn’t bring it to the farm.
Grace looked me firmly in the eyes around 7:15, about an hour and five minutes before school starts, and said “Mom. I think you should probably drive me to school this morning. In case the bus is late.” And I know my kid. So I said “Yes. Of course!”
I don’t know what the farm trip will be like today. But I know that to my daughter it might as well have been a trip to Disney. This farm trip is all she’s ever wanted. (We even watched Charlotte’s Web last night as a good farm themed movie.) I also know now that whatever I need my daughter to do…if I can somehow manage to get her teacher to send home a note about it on a piece of neon colored paper…it will never be forgotten. Her brain was a steel trap for details and preparation. She followed every rule and guideline and worked through all of the scenarios in her head before the trip could begin.
I can’t wait to hear every word about it. And I really hope it was okay that she came to school with a backpack!