Last Monday, I dropped 17 and 15 off at school where they were loading up three charter buses to haul 100+ marching band members plus dozens of chaperones down to Walt Disney World for Spring Break. I was not one of those chaperones. I wanted to be, but the cost was just too much, given the fact that I was sending two kids down already. A third ticket to ride would've meant that some lucky bill collector would be calling us some rude names. I opted not to go on this trip. Here's why I am fine with/hate that decision.
Teenage eyes: Absolutely and thoroughly excited at the chance to head to Orlando for a week of fun in the sun with friends. Getting to spend hours in the water park or the Magic Kingdom meeting characters, waiting on endless lines for minutes of fun.
My eyes: Watching the kids mill around the band room and seeing the chaperones come in with their suitcases, knowing that they'd get the opportunity to watch my children having the time of their lives. The knot grows bigger and bigger in my stomach. It becomes pure torture for me to watch others loading up while I stand by on the sidelines, not a part of this experience.
Teenage eyes: Dear sweet baby Jesus are we there yet??
My eyes: Thank GOD I'm not on a charter bus driving 18 hours to Orlando, FL.
Teenage eyes: Excitement mounting as they all congregate backstage at the Magic Kingdom, dressing in their band uniforms, warming up, preparing to step off and march in the Main Street Electrical Parade. And after taking that parade by storm, getting to watch the amazing fireworks show afterwards.
My eyes: Looking at the clock, counting down the minutes until 9:45 p.m., which is step-off time for the band to begin the march down Main Street, performing in my favorite parade in Walt Disney World. Getting chills just imagining how amazing this experience is for my girls, and getting sad that I can't be there to enjoy it, enjoy them, enjoy the experience first hand. Disney is our place, a place we'd go every year if we could afford it. I want to be there so badly that I'm physically aching inside. At 10:30 the first pictures are posted to Facebook and I break down in tears. Proud tears, yes, but also tears of self-pity and selfishness. I should've gone. I should've just said "to hell with fiscal responsibility, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I should be there dammit!" But knowing in my heart (and my bank account) that this week is NOT about me. It's TOTALLY about my girls, and their friends and the marching band. I should be ashamed for being so jealous of everyone there while I sit at my computer looking at videos of my girls and crying. I feel torn.
Teenage eyes: Dread at getting back on the charter buses at 10:00 at night knowing full well how long the trip home will be, and leaving what has been one of the most exciting times of their young lives.
My eyes: At least I can sleep in my own bed tonight and not on a charter bus for 18 hours.
My eyes: Thank God my girls are home safe and sound and I can't wait to hear every detail about their week (well, the details they're willing to share with old Mom). I hope they want to sit and chat with me all day long!