My Mom was like a PTA superhero. Seriously. She was all over it. She was always at our schools. She was even the President of several PTAs/ PTSAs through the years. Growing up, Lucas and I were always around as she prepared for meetings and decorated bulletin boards and volunteered anytime there was an opportunity. She even enlisted Daddy's help constantly. He was even the Co-President once, I think. So to me, being involved in the PTA is sort of not optional. That is just what parents do, you know?
I distinctly remember sitting in the lobby of my dorm with David when we were first dating. I asked him if he planned to be a member of the PTA when he had kids. He already knew I was pretty nuts, so he did not skip a beat and said that he did plan to be involved in his children's education. This made it OK to keep dating him. I am not kidding; it has always been that important to me.
I was so pumped at the new family orientation as Jessa's school that I was given the chance to join their PTO (slightly different from a PTA, but the same general idea). I was thrilled beyond words. This sort of made it "official." And I was also fired up for my first meeting as a real parent who was a real member of a real PTO and a real school. Real, I tell you.
I volunteered to help out with several committees. I was so happy to be able to help out and be present at Jessa's school. I handed out my info and waited. Well, last week, I got an e-mail asking for volunteers to hand out Spirit Wear. The last Friday of each month, the kiddos are supposed to wear their school shirt, and the newly ordered ones were in. I immediately agreed to help.
So the day came. Spencer and I went to the office and got our visitor's pass and proceeded to the cafeteria. We got to spread out all the shirts and fill all the orders and get them all bundled up to deliver to the classrooms. I enjoyed making small talk with the other moms. Filling the orders wasn't tough because the t-shirt committee was very organized. I liked the feeling that I was being helpful. It was not a big time committment, either. But I was mainly just happy to be there. Happy to be in Jessa's first public school. I know I probably had a silly grin on my face the whole time! Spencer was such a good boy, too. He sat quietly at a table and colored and played with a train or two.
Then the time came to deliver the shirts to all the classrooms. I got to take a few to the Kindergarten rooms. I was about to burst with excitement as I headed down to her hall. But then I realized that they were not even in there. Bummer! I did get to look at her little spot at the table, though. And every classroom that Spencer passed, he would ask, "Is that Jessa's?"
Then Spencer and I delivered some more to other grades and other hallways. And I was all choked up the whole time. I mean, it smelled like a school. Like construction paper and glue and erasers and pencils. There was student artwork all over the walls. There were classes lined up heading in one direction or another. There were baskets full of lunch boxes outside all the classrooms. When I went into the rooms to make my deliveries, I got to hear snippets of lessons and look at all the brightly decorated classrooms. It is all so awesome. I can remember being in elementary school when everything was so exciting and new. And my heart was bursting with pride because my baby is now a part of all of this. The computer labs and the library and the gym. The cafeteria and the playground and the desks. I walked slowly (because Spencer is rarely in a hurry) and just took it all in. I had to get a hold of myself before we got back to the cafeteria with all the other, more emotionally stable mothers. Hopefully it was just the first of many days that I will spend in any number of schools for both of my children. I know it was an hour and a half of t-shirt sorting, but it felt huge for me.
Then this morning, I dragged my little student out of her bed on a dark and rainy morning. And I slipped her into her brand new school spirit shirt to send her off to the bus stop. I was so proud of my girl!!
And I would also like to point out that the entire family will be sporting shirts throughout the year. . .