Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Volunteering at School

This past Saturday I hosted the carnival at my daughter's preschool. It has been a whirlwind of preparations, a whirlwind of an event, and a whirlwind of emotions. As I may have mentioned before, our preschool is a cooperative preschool that requires and depends on parent volunteers to keep the school running. In the four years that we have had children in this school, my husband has always assisted in the classroom (a few times a month) and I have always worked on a committee. This was my 3rd year (1 year with my elder daughter, 2 with my younger) as the Family Events Chairperson, and by the time the carnival rolls around each year, I am READY TO BE DONE! There are four events during the school year, board meetings to attend every other month, and a committee to organize. On top of working four days a week, taking care of the kids and the house, it gets to be tiring. But then I get through the carnival, the school year winds down, the summer break begins, and it's almost like childbirth -- you forget the pain once it's over and you are ready and willing to have another one! ;)

But this is different -- this was my last event and this year is our last at this preschool. We had two daughters go through this school -- we have a lot of great memories, and we've made lifelong friends. This year has been a little trying for us (I'm still working on that post...) and so more than ever I've been looking forward to the end of this school year and the end of the family event season. But the night before the carnival (after I hung my rosary in the tree for good weather!) as I was falling asleep I thought that I wanted to make sure and take everything in. I told myself to put aside all of the frustrations of the year, all of the stress of the carnival planning, and just appreciate that this is it -- the last year of preschool, the last carnival.

Easier said than done, unfortunately! I had the best intentions of really taking time to actually watch my "baby" at her last carnival -- I ended up doing face painting the entire time with my friend Kristin, and neither of us could come up for air! I had brought my girl with me to help set up, so I was able to take pictures and video of her in the bounce house before everyone else showed up, and I was able to spend a little time while I painted her face -- once with a kitty face (first of the day -- not great...) and the other with a pink fairy "flourish" along the side of her face -- better! Her sister, her dad and her Uncle Mark were all at the carnival, so I at least took comfort in knowing that she had other family members around to watch her and help out.

I found myself surprisingly emotional at the end of the day -- all of a sudden, the last event was over -- my baby is that much closer to turning 5, that much closer to kindergarten. The stress of the Family Events job is not quite over -- I still have to organize the big binder and turn it in for next year's chair. And while this is done, I have another volunteer job for my eldest daughter's school -- two actually! It occurred to me that I am one of the room parents, and it will be time to organize the parents to bring in items for the end of the year party. And this Friday, my friend Christine and I will be spending the day at the middle school teaching the kids how to churn butter for their pioneer day!

People sometimes tease me about volunteering for too much, and I sometimes think that I really need to stop saying "yes" to everything. But it's a wonderful experience to be involved with my children's schools, even if it's just in a small capacity (like room parent). And another thing that makes it worth it? Having my 10-year-old say to me, completely out of the blue the other day, "Mommy, I know you're busy, but it's really great that you sign up to do things at our schools to make us happy!" That right there would make me host another carnival! :)

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