In the past month or so, my train rides to work have been intermittently interrupted and made chaotic by one school group or another going on a field trip. One group was so out of control, they were literally hanging from the bars and jumping across the aisles from seat-to-seat. Another time it was a class from S~ and L~’s school, but for a minute when I saw a familiar parent, I thought it was actually L~’s class, and was very excited that I might see her. It was the grade below her, though. And they were – I might add – fantastically behaved.
Today it was another group from our school. I recognized the teachers and several parents right off. The kids were noisy, but not disruptive (i.e., their feet stayed on the floor). It wss the third grade.
And I knew where they were going. Late in the school year, lunches in hand, the smell of sunscreen in the air, parents in waterproof shorts.
They were going to an island off of Boston.
I know because the third grade goes there every year. I was bummed that I didn’t make it work to be a chaperone when (during our first year here), S~ came home so excited about the fantastic day she had. I resolved then and there to make it work to go with L~’s class.
And I did. I took a day off from studying (ahhh, those were the days), and I went to that island.
Remembering that day – and L~ and her friends at age 8 or 9, and some of the innocence that was still in place, brought me to tears on the train today. Thank god for sunglasses. L~ and I were remembering the trip not too long ago, and she said, “oh, remember, I fell asleep on the ferry back?” And she did. She curled up with her BFF at the time, they were all squeezey in one chair, and passed out on each other’s shoulders. The next year, they had a very hard time navigating their friendship, and L~ experienced a good bit of misery and ostracization. But that trip was before that, and the pictures of them more than 2 years into their friendship (now a 5+ year friendship, since they seem to have weathered the 4th grade storm) are some of the sweetest photos we have.
Another memory from the trip, while tearing up on the train, was that I had my first conversation with a now-dear friend on that trip. It wasn’t the start of the friendship – that came later. But I remember still feeling “new” to the parent-community, and feeling intimidated by this woman. Remembering those feelings from today’s vantage point – where she and I partner closely on major projects and are very close – is really disorienting. (Actually, I am leaving work early today to go and meet with her and interview candidates for the next phase of our project.)
I have enjoyed nothing more than my girls getting older. There is so much about the younger-years that I do not miss. I love the way that we relate now that they’re older, I love the relationships that have evolved. I would never go back in time.
But today, I was really sad.