Chaperoning school field trips can bring great joy to children, to share an exciting experience during school with a parent. It can bring anxiety to children of high conflict divorce. Which parent do they ask? Will the other parent be hurt if they aren’t asked? Will the parent not asked be upset and yell? I’m sure a million things go through their little minds.
Ted and I would go round and round via email in the early days, in his attempts to push me out of their lives. It took me a while to learn this was just one more way for Ted to bait me into a confrontation.
Our arguments eventually evolved into letting the child choose who to take. Ted and I finally agreed that the parent attending pays for the entire trip.
Chaperoning school field trips has brought a lot of anxiety for ME since the divorce. Ted’s brothers send their children to Grant and Kristy’s school, so I know I can always count on seeing a family member of his. On the last field trip I attended with Kristy just last month, Ted’s brother who helped him stalk me during our separation was there. His son was in my group. I plastered on a big smile and treated his son like all of the other kids. He is 12 and has no idea what really happens, besides, he can’t help who his family is.
When I hear of an upcoming field trip, I always ask who will be attending in a very upbeat, non-leading tone, as to not cause any anxiety for Grant or Kristy. Grant usually asks Ted to go, and I assure him that he will have a fabulous time. Kristy always expects me to sign up for her field trips. I pack snacks and travel games, and take a lot of pictures. I smile to all of the other parents, including the parents I once considered friends who now turn their head when they see me. Their attitude toward me since leaving Ted will not deter me from embracing the opportunity to be a part of a special memory for my child.
Last year, Grant promised me if his class took the traditional 8th grade amusement park field trip this year, he would ask me to go. He is sticking to his word, and I just made the first payment today. I honestly was a little shocked (yet proud) he is honoring his promise. The $135 plus the cost of food and bus tip is going to kill me, but I am so excited to have this opportunity with him, because this is only the second field trip he has asked me to chaperone.