It’s field trip season. Lots of kids are headed out to the pumpkin patch or apple orchard and teachers everywhere are hoping they don’t lose anyone. One of the perks of my job is being able to go on field trips with my kids. We’ve had some interesting times. One year we nearly froze to death. Another time we left the pumpkin patch with a pantless two year old in tow (you don’t want anymore details about that one). Poor Riley had a run of bad luck in terms of school outings. In kindergarten she came home from a play in Lexington with a temperature of 102 and in first grade got hit with a stomach bug about ten minutes into a trip to Evans Orchard. Last year I went with 60 kindergartners to a local pumpkin patch. We had a great time. I have never been so tired and muddy in my life. And I tried to warn the teachers about my lack of direction skills BEFORE we entered the corn maze…
All of these trips pale in comparison to two that I took as a teenager. The first was to the Cincinnati Zoo. I was around 13 and my mom was a first grade teacher. She and my dad managed to get permission to take 23 wild children to the zoo. Did I mention that this was about FOUR hours from the school? I don’t remember volunteering to be a chaperone but the next thing I knew I was on a van (my dad arranged transportation because we couldn’t afford to hire a bus and you could get away with stuff like that back then) with a crew of children who had barely been our of Knott County. This was big time. I didn’t understand then how much this trip meant because I got to go places all the time. The majority of these kids didn’t know anything about life outside of Eastern Kentucky. It was a huge adventure. Mom put me in charge of some of the “easy” kids. I thought they were all maniacs. I’m pretty sure this was the most effective form of birth control my parents could have ever provided. We survived that day but at times I didn’t think we would.
The second was my freshman class trip to Cincinnati. Apparently my destiny was to spend time in Cincinnati. My dad once again donated the use of a van (there were a grand total of 20 kids in the freshman class of my small private school) and he drove. If my memory is correct we left around 5 a.m., hit Kings Island, went to a Reds game, and then stayed for Beach Boys concert. Then we all piled back in the van and arrived back in Hindman at some ungodly hour. It was dubbed the “24 Hour Class Trip.” My dad and the faculty member who chaperoned us were obviously out of their minds. At the time it all seemed so perfectly normal to me.
There are many more rules for field trips now. Students must ride a bus, there are tons of forms to sign, and budgets are tighter than ever. I hope that my girls remember their trips and that I was present. I hope Lily will talk about the gigantic pumpkin I hauled home for her last year (and the 20 other pumpkins I had to take to school on my own because I couldn’t say no to any of her friends when they asked for a “really big one!”) and Riley will laugh remembering how we went to Keeneland after one of her trips. I hope Bailey and I get to build many field trip memories when she starts school.
Most of all, I hope that I can remember to have fun with my girls. When I head to the apple orchard next week with Lily’s first grade class I won’t worry about ruining another pair of shoes. I won’t look at my watch. I will close my eyes and pretend I’m on that bus with my mom and dad and 23 excited girls and boys who didn’t even know what a zoo was. I will remember the joy on their faces and be grateful for my field trippin’ days.