Today I mistakenly went to a high school music parents booster meeting. I have not generally done well as a booster parent. I find that booster parents don’t seem to have moved on since high school. Remember in Desperate Housewives when Lynette is trying to be accepted by the other preschool moms? Good comedy is always based on truth.
I do not feel particularly welcomed by booster parents. I suspect part of this is because I work. I’ve seen other parents (moms, who am I kidding?) rejected for this. Part of it is that my kids are not the superstars. Part of it is probably the wheelchair. Being around booster parents immediately reduces me to the emotional level I was at in high school.
So there we are, sitting in little rows in school chairs. I am sitting off to the side of the second row. The teacher passes around a volunteer sign up sheet which appears to be 5 or 6 pages long. This thing goes around very slowly, as every mom who gets it first looks extremely surprised, then apparently has to study it with the intensity of a Kabbalah disciple.
The sign up sheets make it down the first row. They are coming towards me in the second row. The woman next to me in the second row gives them extra scrutiny. She is turned away from me. “What can I do if I work?” she asks no one in particular. “I want to help, but I can’t come to the school in the middle of the day to help with bookkeeping. Can I do some computer work at home in the evening?”
“Do you have a Mac?” the teacher asks, with the certain knowledge that she does not. She tries to engage him in a little platform independent speculation, but he has already turned away.
She lifts the sign up sheets in a little gesture of resignation. Hopeful that I will get my chance to sign up for something, I turn towards her, start to smile, start to reach out my hand. She glances at me briefly, turns away from me, and hands the sheets to the woman behind her.
I watch the sheets pass through several more sets of hands. The teachers are no longer talking to us, so the only thing left to do is to wait for the sign up sheets. Third row. Fourth row. The woman currently holding the sheets is talking to the band director. I decide not to be a passive martyr, and go over to her. “Do you mind if I look at those while you have your conversation?” She either doesn’t hear me or ignores me. She abruptly stops talking and starts studying the sheets. I retreat to my previous position. After a while she stands up and walks over to me. “Did you want this?” she asks sternly, holding the sheets firmly. “Whenever you’re done,” I say. She walks away to consult with the band director some more. After a few minutes I decide that there probably isn’t anything on there that can be done by a working mom, put on my coat, and leave.