Friday, March 26, 2010

Class Mom

When my son started school, I made it a point that I would walk my son to school once a week. I always worked long hours so both of us really looked forward to the day I went to work late to spend that time walking with him. This year my wife suggested I sign up for class parent. I usually went on one class trip a year with my son's class but this would give me a chance to spend more time with my son and maybe meet some of the other fathers. School starts and after a week I get the email welcoming the class parents and thanking them for their involvement. I feel good to be part of the class parent group. The introduction meeting will be at 9:00 am the following Tuesday. I am worried about going in late to work, but my wife encourages me to go to the meeting, after all its the first one and you don't want to miss it. Tuesday comes and I am prepared like I am going on an interview. I dress business casual and bring a pad and business cards. I am ready to introduce myself, smile and shake hands.

The meeting is in the multipurpose room on the first floor and I enter promptly at 9:00 AM. The room is crowded and noisy. It is hard to scan the whole room through the crowd but as I do I notice something, I do not see any other men. I say to myself, they are probably all huddled together talking about cars or their portfolios or something else manly. I walk around to get a full sweep of the busy room and my fear becomes a realization, I am the lone class dad.

I notice a table with one of those coffee boxes on it, so I make my way over, I need some coffee to calm me down. I ask the lady standing behind the table if there are cups for the coffee. She looks up at me and says "Can you grab them from the kitchen? and bring some small plates for the muffins?" I reply to her that I am here for the meeting and do not know where the kitchen is. With a confusing look she simply asks, "Are you a class mom?"

I finally get my coffee and grab a piece of lemon pound cake cut into the shape of a triangle. I take a seat in the middle row of neatly lined folding chairs. I try to listen in on conversations around me. Moms talking about their shoes, about their kids and even about other moms. They are either dressed in tennis outfits or in short dresses. I do not understand any conversation. I start to think I am out of my element.

The parents running the meeting make their way to the front of the room and like a flock of geese every one quickly starts to find a seat. I feel like the room is closing in on me as the chairs around me are filling up. The room is now filled with whispering when one mom turns to me and says "It's nice to see a father here, get a man's view on things". Another woman taps my shoulder from behind and thanks me for taking the time to be involved. I suddenly feel my heart jump. Am I about to represent all the dads? Are all these moms going to look to me for the "Man's view on things". These women will tell their husbands that I was there and ask them why they couldn't make the same commitment. That night, men with pitchforks and shovels are going to drag me out of my home and burn me at the stake. Did I break one of the oldest Dad rules, if one dad can take the time to volunteer, why couldn't they do it also? I am queazy.

The meeting starts and after listening to the chairperson speak about how the kids need our help and the importance of the parents communicating to each other I feel better. I am inspired to help. I can organize the parent-teacher conferences, and make copies of field trip consent forms. I can call other parents on snow closings. The meeting is about to break up into smaller groups representing each grade then into each class. I am ready to meet my fellow class parents. There are three of us, one lead parent and the other two assisting. I walk over near the sign stating my son's class and introduce myself as one of the class parents. The two moms introduce themselves and we stand together talking about how we would break up the tasks needed to get done in the first half of the year. They welcome my opinion and seem genuinely happy I am part of their group. Both agree more fathers would bring a better dynamic to the whole process since everybody could benefit from fresh ideas. They made me feel accepted and appreciated, and I feel spirited.

The meeting is coming to an end and I check the train schedule for the next train. I will get to work later than I anticipated but it is all good. I have become a member of an elite group. The Class Moms.

I say goodbye and begin to make my way to the door. I hear a faint yell as the lead mom stops me. She forgot to give out some material, the class list, project ideas and other items. Her face turns a pinkish red as she explains that her daughter wanted to decorate the packet cover since all her friends are doing it for their class parents. She takes the packet out of the bag and hands it to me. It is a simple two pocket folder with papers inside. The cover however is a different story. It is orange, pink and yellow and covered in stickers of horses and kittens. I still use that folder to keep all of my class material.


Anonymous said...

Giving a shout out to all the Class Dads!

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