I don’t know what I was thinking.
Maybe it was the sweet and earnest way my youngest asked if I would volunteer for his preschool field trip.
Maybe I was feeling guilty because to date, I have avoided all Room-Mom, PTA-Mom, and soccer coach responsibilities.
Maybe it was the extra-large Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and shot of espresso.
But I somehow managed to find myself bouncing along on a big yellow school bus with my young charges heading out to the petting zoo.
The petting zoo.
My key responsibility for the day was to keep four little boys safe, calm, and disease-free. The first stop involved eating lunch in the picnic area. I figured this would be a piece of cake. I’d just throw the boys their brown bags and relish the fact that everyone was seated and contained.
First up, did you know that preschoolers are completely incapable of opening juice boxes, cheese sticks, and chip bags?
And can you guess what every mom packed?
I spent 10 minutes unsealing my group’s food, and just as I finished, the preschool supervisor announced that lunch was over. One of my dear friends who volunteers for these sorts of things regularly handed me a plastic container filled with rice and shrimp.
“Eat up. You’re going to need your strength today, amateur.”
We next walked over to the animal area where my allergies went berserk. But worse than that? They let the kids touch things. Animal things. Things that harbor virus, infection, and disease. I immediately took possession of the sole container of anti-bacterial hand wipes and made sure not one of my little guys would return harboring Black Death.
Not on my watch.
I would have gladly doused each pair of hands with rubbing alcohol if I hadn’t already drawn the attention of the supervisor by yelling:
“Only use your pointing finger to pet the ducks! And then come right back to me. Remember: JUST YOUR POINTING FINGER!”
Two of the boys in my assigned group were named Andy and Cooper. In an effort to keep everyone together, I paired them up and insisted on calling them “Anderson Cooper” for the rest of the day.
Once again, the other chaperones shook their heads and wondered what institution had released me.
We ended the day with a hay ride. I wobbled off the wooden platform appearing drunk and stoned. I had bloodshot eyes, a bright red nose, and an obvious inability to stop scratching my skin.
These people were trying to kill me.
And why in the name of all that is holy did I forget my Benadryl?
There are not too many people I would have done this for. Actually, just three.
And they had better remember all of this stuff when it’s time to pick out their mother’s nursing home.