Today I went on a field trip with the 3rd grade to an old time school house. I thought that Jeffrey looked just adorable in his overalls, and that I looked rather ridiculous in the costume that I borrowed from Sian, a mother who's son went here last week. I like watching the children pretend that they have traveled back in time, and for me it's like going live into "Little House on the Prairie" which I was a big fan of the books and 1970's TV show as a kid. (Did you know they show repeats of it during the day on cable now?)
There were a lot of other mothers who dressed up, but my friend Matt, a former coworker from GM and also a parent of one of Jeffrey's classmates, did not. So I stuck an extra hat I brought along for just this purpose on his head. He showed me pictures on his digital camera that he took last in Germany and Paris while on a business trip for his new assignment in Advance Purchasing. At one point as I was wandering around the schoolhouse (there wasn't a whole lot for the parent chaperons to do while the children were doing their lessons) I saw Matt off to the side, hunched over talking into his cell phone. That's when I realized the difference between us. I always used a lot of my vacation days to attend as many field trips as I could, but because they weren't always scheduled very far in advance, there always seemed to be some critical thing to stay on top of, and I would have had my pager tucked into my lunch bucket just in case. This time I was just there, and I was able to enjoy the day without simultaneously stressing about what I wasn't getting done at the office. And I'm pretty sure I like that better, even if the most recent pictures on my digital camera were of our backyard.