Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fueled By Guilt

Fueled by guilt.
This has been my life long motto.

I eat too much and the guilt drives me to workout harder.
I say yes when I want to say no when asked to do things I'd rather not, because the guilt of not having a legitimate excuse persuades me.
I volunteer for all of Caroline's activities because I feel guilty for choosing to have an only child.
I feel like I should do the best I can and be the most involved because I've selfishly chosen to keep her sibling free.

It seems as if I'm ALWAYS feeling guilty about something, big or small, even when I shouldn't. Maybe I'm just happy being miserable? Nah, I'm not miserable. In fact, I've got it pretty good, which, you guessed it, makes me feel guilty. So many people struggle. Debt, unemployment, illness, infertility. And here I am, living a semi charmed life. Sure I'm neurotic and inflict worry upon myself, but I really have nothing of substance to complain about.

I'll never get over the guilt of choosing to have an only child. Now, as guilty and selfish as I feel, I certainly don't feel guilty or selfish enough to change that. Which, in turn, makes me feel even worse.
But this really isn't the point to my post.

What sparked the guilty talk is fact that Craig and I are going to be chaperones on Caroline's camp's trip to the local water park, Pirate's Cove (again with the pirates!), tomorrow. Perhaps I should shift my focus away from my guilt ridden existence and do something about the fact that I just wrote an incredibly awkward, choppy, run on sentence.
On Monday we learned of the impending trip. We also learned that they desperately needed chaperones to make the trip happen. No extra chaperones = no trip= 85 (!) unhappy kids.

We said no originally because Craig has to pick up a rental car tomorrow. He's driving to Florida EARLY Saturday morning and while his Civic has been nothing but faithful and reliable, it's old and I'd much prefer he took a rental. Besides, the Civic lacks cruise control, which is a much appreciated luxury whilst traveling up and down I-95.
So we said no, as we had a legitmate excuse.

That is until it was becoming quite apparent that the chaperone sign up list wasn't getting filled up as quickly as they had hoped. Craig toyed with the idea, but in the end chose not to. Until Caroline, who heard him say he *might do it* signed him up. I picked her up on Tuesday and she told me quite matter of factly that she signed Craig up to be a chaperone. As we were leaving, the counselors quickly handed me a volunteer consent form. Well, I guess the decision was made for Craig.
Of course, I felt bad that Craig was being forced into chaperoning, so I volunteered myself as well.

I could not fathom disappointing all those kids.
Even though there are a bazillion things I'd rather do than ride a hot school bus with a bunch of screaming kids and then try to keep track of them at a water park.
Somehow knowing that our lack of participation would cause the trip to be cancelled made my cold black heart turn all warm and fuzzy. I hate when that happens.

So, this evening I packed our field trip lunch that will sit on the hot bus for several hours. I get a shiver just thinking about it. The counselors specifically asked that the kids bring a non perishable lunch in a disposable bag as to not have to deal with lunch boxes. I can understand their thinking quite clearly, yet the germ freak in me cringes at the thought of our lunches roasting in the bus. However, I used my wits and had the good sense to freeze some juice boxes to use as ice packs to keep our pb&j sandwiches cool.

We'll have fun. Well, Caroline and the rest of the kids will. We have to get up extra early to pick up the rental car before camp starts, but it'll be worth it.

Speaking of parental guilt, Caroline has been hounding me for twenty minutes to come watch tv with her upstairs. I keep telling her I'll be right there.

I guess I should go join her before she turns into some horrid criminal who places the blame on me for not giving her a sibling and not watching enough episodes of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody with her.


Sissy said...

I remember the Gilmore Girls episode where Rory was shanghaied (sp?) into having her mom volunteer for something and I thought it was so funny that Lorelai asked her, "I was the last resort, right? Like I taught you?" Not everyone is made for that, and I certainly don't want to chaperone all those kids somewhere. I don't mind having them all on school property (my reading slumber party) but I don't want to take little kids anywhere. High Schoolers? Sure. I took them to France. But little kids. Nope.

Alison said...

I agree. Wasn't Lorelai put on some sort of committee? Prom? I can't remember, but I know what you're talking about. I didn't mind volunteering in the classroom this year, but taking kids outside the confines of the school is scary. While I'd never want to lose my own child, it would be far worse to lose someone else's kid. And also, kids don't listen to me, so I'm not really an effective chaperone.
Thankfully we survived.