Field trip privilege, part 2
I ran into a young mom friend while enjoying a beautiful Durham Bulls baseball evening with my husband’s co-workers. She encouraged me to write a follow up to the field trip blog, so Jordan, this one’s for you!
Yes, I do have the energy to spend 3 days and 2 nights with 5th graders, but there is a price to pay. Truth is I think that the 40 something and even the 30 something parents would agree that it took 2-3 days to recover physically and emotionally from this amazing experience. Some of the memories and highlights:
Watching sweet Melissa record every moment of this trip to take back and share with her immigrant family.
Going to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. As the very patriotic tour guide spoke in his booming voice about the 3 year olds to 70 year olds who died on that day, I wanted to elbow him and say, “dude, tone it down a little – these are 10 year olds”. A very tender hearted friend of our family, took the reality of 3 year olds dying in this way directly to heart and became emotionally distraught. It was a privilege to be there to comfort and gently dialogue with her and my own daughter as they questioned and wrestled with a tragedy that I myself can’t make sense of.
Experiencing the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on a beautiful blue sky day. While the kids used this time to run off some steam, they also engaged with the memorial in profound ways. A fellow chaperone stated, “they got this one right” of the memorial. I completely agree.
Listening to an enthusiastic Vietnamese boy tell over and over that his grandfather had fought in the Vietnam war. After experiencing what is personally one of the most deeply moving memorials, he said soberly, “my grandfather never talks about the war.”
Saying well over 100 times, “where’s Eliza”? One of my charges was a bit of a wanderer, but a very sweet and enthusiastic soul. I am grateful that several other chaperones teamed up and happy to report that we never truly lost her.
Getting a kick out of our cranky but knowledgeable tour guide. I am sure that guiding school children around DC can be exasperating and tiring at times. We learned a lot from our guide and she mostly held the kids’ attention. I was somewhat incredulous when a loud alarm sounded and she said out loud with the kids gathering, “was that another child kidnapping siren?” – I turned to a fellow mom and said, “did she really just say that??”. Thankfully most of the kids seemed oblivious and Eliza was within my sight at that moment.
Watching four of my daughters’ fellow 5th graders present a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This Arlington National Cemetery ceremony is always moving, but seeing familiar children who have a parent or grandparent in active military duty touched me deeply.
Once again, I am grateful for the privilege to experience this field trip with our daughter. Good news is that since her sister is only one grade behind her, I get to do this all again next year.
Note: Thanks to google images for the 9-11 Pentagon memorial photo.