It arrived innocently enough in my son’s backpack a few months ago, a permission slip for a class trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. They were looking for as many parents as possible to help chaperone the precocious 6 & 7 year olds and I must have been feeling generous or I felt that tinge of guilt that comes when one thinks about their middle child. It was unusual for me to even examine the contents of his backpack if you really want to know the truth. God, could I even find his classroom? I decided to be a good Mommy and signed my name on the dotted line. March 18th, 2014. It was so far away at the time I hadn’t noticed anything odd about the date.
February turned to March and I flipped the calendar page on my kitchen counter and that’s when I saw it. The color drained from my face and I felt as if I had the wind knocked out of me. The 18th of March is the MORNING AFTER SAINT PATRICK’S DAY. Those sneaky bastards sent the paper home before Christmas KNOWING I wouldn’t put 2 and 2 together. It was a conspiracy, I was convinced. I felt duped. I felt angry. I felt actual fear. Fear for the inevitable hangover I was now going to have to suffer on a school bus with a bunch of kids that don’t have the sense to use their indoor voices around me. Anger returned, followed by guilt. Christ, get it together woman. It’s not like you’re 21 years old anymore, get a grip! In my defense, however, this year for the first time in my career as a barmaid I had Saint Patrick’s Day OFF. Unheard of. I had visions of pints and Irish music while I reunited with all my closest alcoholic cohorts. All these dreams were smashed to pieces.
So I spent last night being good (red wine instead of a 12 pack), listening to the Cranberries and cooking a delicious meal in the safety of my own home. So boring. No one was puking, throwing punches, or crying in a glass of green Budweiser. This sure didn’t feel like Saint Patrick’s Day to me. But you know ”KIDS COME FIRST”. I swallowed 3 Advil just to be safe and hit the sack.
While I was excited to spend such quality time with my boy and explore a museum I had never been to before, part of me was dreading the small talk with the other moms. Surely, they would all be in the PTA and I would be the outcast. Albeit, a cute outcast in my Chuck Taylors and my Dickies bag slung over my sweet rack. When I arrived at the school, the kids and the guardians were already standing in line outside. I scanned the crowd for any hot Dads and came up empty. OK, put my game face on and was determined to show whoever was in my group that I was the fun Mom and we were going to have a grand ol’ time. There wouldn’t be any frowning and scolding “No Running Johnny!” from me that’s for sure. I found my son and was informed I only had one other kid in my group. Easy Peasy. He seemed like a good kid and I enjoy this age, truly. These boys just want to have fun. I resisted the urge to pick the crusty boogers out of his nose (my #1 pet peeve about your kids) and we climbed onto the yellow school bus. (I always think of Chris Farley when I encounter a bus driver….he really was the best wasn’t he? RIP)
We three squeezed into the 2nd seat from the back and I soon discovered it was right over the heater. It became unbearable before we even hit the highway to head to Boston. I peeled off my jacket and then my sweatshirt and still felt like I was in molten lava with just a thin white T shirt on. So I reached up to open the window a little bit. Fresh air, everybody loves fresh air, right? I started to feel not-so-menapausal finally when some little asshole girl across the aisle demands, “Can you close the window?! We’re FREEZING!” Fuck you little girl. I shut the window while the driver proceeded to hit every pothole from here to Cambridge. In my mind all I could hear was Eddie Money singing “her tits were SHAKIN’!” because man oh man my boobs were bouncing up and down so much I almost couldn’t stop looking at them myself. No wonder these turtleneck wearing ladies wouldn’t talk to me. This really was one hot bus ride.
We arrived and I was told we could all go and do our own thing as long as we all met back at the lobby at 1pm. Sweet. Oh, one more thing, we couldn’t buy anything at the gift shop because not every kid had money to get something and it can cause hurt feelings. (cue: Flight of the Conchords) That was fine with me until I saw all the cool shit in the gift shop. I never wanted to buy a rock more in my life. The lady working there needed to sit and spin on a walrus tusk, she was such a douche bag. I don’t care for people who scold my son when he isn’t doing anything wrong. Playing with the puppets in the gift shop to me isn’t something to get all worked up about. Go.sit.on.that.tusk. She also made some comment about the fact that the kids weren’t buying anything. Hey lady! That wasn’t my rule! I would gladly give you twenty dollars for a peacock feather and some minerals….but I’m a rule-follower (clearly). I’m trying not to hurt feelings. (sorry little girl from the bus)
We had a great time exploring the exhibits and of course the boys and I had a chuckle at a very realistic carving of a naked man, balls and all. Sadly, that’s the only thing I’ll mention from the museum. See what hanging around with 7 year old boys gets ya?
So, all in all I had a good day. I fulfilled my motherly duties and ate 2 bags of chips. But make no mistake, next year St. Patrick- IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG.