Beth Falkenstein: My tween just graduated from 5th grade. At her ceremony, I was fairly bursting with joy, although not for all the reasons you assume.
Oh sure, I was proud of her accomplishments and filled with the bittersweet realization that my little girl is growing up, et cetera, et cetera. But to be honest, I was equally thrilled with the prospect of her entering a middle school where I am a complete unknown.
I have spent the last six years (nine, if you count my oldest child) being Room Parent, PTA Secretary, Gala Chairperson, and Class Treasurer at her elementary school. At Back to School Night, when the teachers with their puppy-dog eyes would ask for a volunteer to help organize the holiday party, my head would say "No, no!" but my hand would say "Here's your sucker!"
It got so bad that I once even got a call from someone in the main office asking for help with some sort of administrative problem. My face was such a familiar sight around the school that they had started to believe I worked there. The truly sad part was: I was able to help them!
If you are reading this, you know exactly what I'm talking about. That's because you are either just like me, or you are one of those strong-willed parents who managed to sit on their hands while I grudgingly agreed to serve as the Arts Cadre Parent. Well, it's six (or nine) years later and I say it's your turn now.
Next fall, at Back to School Night, when the teacher asks for a Parent Coordinator for the school musical, both of my hands will be firmly anchored under my butt cheeks. And my face will register a faraway, blank expression.
I just hope the telltale guilt in my eyes doesn't give me away.
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 13 and 10), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|