Jackson had his very first field trip last Friday to The Florida Museum of Natural History where they went to see the Butterfly Rainforest. I am pleased to report that he had a wonderful time!
I was a little nervous about sending him at first for a few reasons: 1) Parents were not allowed to come. 2) It was in Gainesville (about 1 1/2 hours drive away). 3) He had never been on a bus before (1 1/2 hours is quite a distance for a "trial run") and 4) I didn't know how he'd react to or behave in the museum. After all, it was definitely out of the daily routine.
So, I did what most concerned mothers do and set up a meeting with his teacher. She was very helpful. After speaking with her, my options were 1) he rides the bus and I follow behind. Once there, he'd be with the group and I would be on my own until it was time to leave, at which point they would release him to me, or 2) he rides with me, is counted absent for the day, and he can't participate in the exclusive group tours/talks/activities his kindergarten class would have. He would just be with me.
Initially, I planned on driving him down there and just "following" (or shadowing) one of the kindergarten groups. He'd be marked absent for the day (which still seems crazy to me if he's in the same place, doing the same things, but I digress..) but I figured that at least he wouldn't be missing anything and I'd have more peace of mind by being right there if something were to happen. Once I realized that he would be excluded from some things that only the groups were doing and that I knew he'd enjoy, I was back to square one. Not. knowing. what. to. do.
So, I decided to send an email to Jackson's principal who also happens to be a family friend. I knew that he could put my mind at ease and help me figure out a solution. I told him about my concern with putting Jackson on a school bus and that if at all possible, I'd like Jackson to be able to participate in the "exclusive" activities, with or without my presence, whichever was preferable and most beneficial. I mentioned the attendance issue too, but was clear that if I could only win one battle, I'd like to have Jackson in those classes. Just like Jackson's teachers, his principal was also very understanding. After speaking with him, my new options were 1) Jackson rides the bus. We follow. If there is any issue, they will immediately pull over and Jackson can ride the rest of the way with me, or 2) I drive Jackson down there and he joins the group upon arrival. He stays with the group until it is time to leave. Since I was given EVERY assurance that they would pull over if the bus ride upset Jackson, I felt like this would be a good time for him to give it a try.
After dropping Jackson off at school, I drove around to the bus entrance and parked on the side, a safe distance behind what I assumed to be the buses for the field trip. We (me, Sadie, and Josiah) watched as the teachers packed the lunches and coolers in the back of the bus and again as they helped the kids board. We were parked to the left of the bus so we couldn't actually see them loading, except for their feet. I remember seeing Jackson's feet from under the bus as he got ready to board. I was all set to snap a picture. I just wasn't quick enough! Having only seen his feet, I could already tell he was excited!
Finally, our caravan began. I kept a safe distance away from the bus but was still close enough that I could see some of the kids in the back. I was cracking up watching them try so desperately to get a truck driver to honk for them. I can remember doing that as a kid, too. (Heck, I think I even tried to do that while on college trips. haha) After what seemed like an endless number of semis, finally one honked. You would've thought they'd won the Superbowl the way they were carrying on after that! LOL
Jackson's teacher showed me a picture she'd taken of him on the bus. His smile was so big that you couldn't even see his eyes. What was I worried about, right? I bet all his teachers think I'm the most ridiculously overprotective parent they've ever seen. If that's true, it's a great irony because I've been accused of being too "inattentive" before...more than once. Anyway, I'm glad he enjoyed himself and had such a great time. I'm also very glad and very grateful that I was afforded the opportunity to experience part of his journey on his VERY FIRST SCHOOL FIELD TRIP! YAY!
- I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)