816 Diversions

Susan Vollenweider: It’s the season of the field trip, but this time for grownups

By Susan Vollenweider

Special to The Star

The most requested Parent Field Trip in this extraordinarily unscientific poll was a day at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The art, lunch in Rozelle Court by the fountain, strolling through the new, Four Seasons sculptures and maybe a side trip to the Plaza.
The most requested Parent Field Trip in this extraordinarily unscientific poll was a day at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. The art, lunch in Rozelle Court by the fountain, strolling through the new, Four Seasons sculptures and maybe a side trip to the Plaza. FILE PHOTO

It’s Go Time! We are mid-last month of school and the calendar is crammed with events. Parents are skilled at getting things done, but weddings, showers and graduation parties only add more ink to pages overflowing with kid activities.

In my world there are two wild-ride, test our organizational and endurance mettle months of the school year: December and May. Congratulations! We’ve made it through the first one, but are now knee deep in the last. It feels like a parent’s final exam with an extra credit question: How well did you do the field trip?

Eighteen years into the parenting gig I am more practiced … but also jaded. Been there done that … what? Again? All those years of signing permission slips, waiting to see if I won the Chaperone Lottery, dressing kids for the weather and packing a fully disposable lunch that didn’t grow any illness causing bacteria while it waited to be eaten have taken a toll on me.

I wasn’t always this way. The first field trip I went on: preschool pumpkin patch. The kids were cute and wild, but portable. Each could be lifted out of trouble or the mud. Facebook wasn’t even in its infant stages yet, but my status would have read:

So Excited!!!! First Field Trip for both of us, I’ve been waiting for this day since the stick read positive!

And later that day: So! Much! Fun! When do I get to go again (and kid is napping like … something really solid.)

Statuses from over the years would tell the whole story:

Awesome! Shatto Dairy today! Going to be fun!

What do you mean I can’t go to Mount Gilead? I love living history!

Feeling guilty: didn’t sign up for zoo field trip for no good reason. Bad parent.

Forgot disposable lunch … forgot field trip entirely until kid came home and told me all about it. Mom of the Year.

Shatto Dairy again? Don’t pick me … don’t pick me…

Last year I was thrilled to go to Earthworks but would I volunteer again? Aaah, no. Let another parent have their turn.

I’m sure at some life-point I’m going to wish I could go on another field trip. Another pumpkin patch, another kid herd through the zoo even another dairy farm.

But right now? Right now I’m selfish and wonder where my field trip is. Memories shmemories! All those years? All those trips? What’s in it for me?

I allowed myself and some close friends one moment to dream of a field trip for ourselves. The stipulations: in the metro, go with your friends, you don’t do the driving but some sort of educational element had to be involved.

A lot of them wanted to take advantage of the non-driving part and learn about fermenting at one of several local wineries or brewing at Boulevard Beer. My coffee people were lining up for The Roasterie.

Stadium tours and history were popular — the Liberty Memorial and Steamboat Arabia got mentions, as did the Thomas Hart House. One outlier wanted to visit, “any place that’s haunted.”

But the most requested Parent Field Trip in this extraordinarily unscientific poll was a day at the Nelson. Art, lunch in Rozelle Court by the fountain, stroll through the new Seasons sculptures and maybe a side trip to the Plaza. Dreamy.

How to make it happen? I looked at my jam packed calendar for the month that ends with the entry, “Last Day of School!” Good thing it was only a hypothetical question.

Then my phone dinged with a Facebook notification.

Can we go on a field trip, now?

It really is Go Time.

Susan Vollenweider lives in Smithville. For more of her writing, go to thehistorychicks.com.

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