Like most parents, my husband and I have each assumed our parental roles. I’m the Mom that requires good grades and clean rooms, reminds them to say “please” as well as “thank-you”, and returns them to their room when skirts are too short, shirts are too wrinkled or hair is disheveled.
And their Dad, like many other dads, is the fun one.
The Dad who takes them on roller coasters while I sit waiting, on the bench, holding backpacks, jackets and caps.
The Dad who lets them jump off the side of the boat into the deep ocean or ride the wave runners while I scream “be careful!” from the dock, in my oversized life-jacket whilst clutching their SPF 100 sunscreen.
The Dad who avidly cheers them on at tennis, cross country, soccer, baseball and basketball in his matching team shirt while I desperately try to find a signal – – any signal – – on my phone.
So it won’t come as shock to any of you that when it comes to field trips, any time the list of items to bring includes: bug spray, hiking boots, flashlight or your own pillow – – I’m basically out. Likewise, you’ll understand then that during a recent parents meeting for our eldest daughter’s upcoming missions trip to Honduras, when the words: rebels, malaria pills, no running water, tent and jungle – were uttered, in perfectly legible writing (so that there could be no mistake), I wrote down: Brody Kane will be attending as Guardian.
I didn’t even let the fact that the teacher had advised he really didn’t need dads on the trip but instead needed moms, stop me from writing down: Brody Kane will be attending as Guardian.
Brody then whispered, “Didn’t you hear him, he wants mothers to go, not fathers. This one is yours.”
I whispered back, “Are you kidding me, the rebels will smell my fear one mile away. I might as well tatoo – “take me” on my forehead.”
“The rebels don’t want you! After three days they’d give you back. I can hear it now – ‘there isn’t hot water in my cage, my coffee is too strong, are you kidding me, you guys don’t have wi-fi in this camp!’
Laugh all you want funny man, this one is yours! (And for the record, I’m pretty sure my ransom would be double his.)
So I was completely taken aback, when two weeks later, while visiting colleges with our eldest, it hit me like a ton of bricks – – her leaving us forever was imminent. Soon, there would be no more field trips, no more lists of what to bring, no more permission slips to sign, she would be gone and I’d regret that we’d not experienced this trip together.
After a few days of thoughtful consideration, I announced over breakfast, “I’m going to Honduras with you!”
The silence was deafening.
And then it started…first they all just looked at each other, then nervous giggles and then outward, hysterical laughter.
“Mama, you won’t make it! They said the landing is one of the most dangerous ones in the world. There is a mountain right before landing and the plane has to take this nose-dive to miss it. You’d freak out even before we got there.”
Huh? Malaria pills, no running water, and now….a nose-diving plane.
And just like that I remembered that I still have two other kids I can attend field trips with. Sounds like fun dad is going to have the time of his life!