This is it! This is the last letter of the alphabet for the A-to-Z Challenge. I cannot believe I wrote every day this month. I wrote passionately throughout this challenge for every single letter. Thank you to everyone who took this journey with me. It wasn’t always pretty but it was real. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Now on to the letter Z!
Earlier this month, M and I helped chaperone Little Miss’s class at the Detroit Zoo. When the field trip permission slips were sent out, Little Miss came running out of her classroom that day yelling, “Jess! Jess! You HAVE to come to the zoo field trip with me! Please!! I realllllyyyyy want you to come with me!” I mean, how could I turn down a request like that? M saw the paper when he got home from work and asked Little Miss if he could come too. Of course she lit up like a light bulb and said “YES!”
I volunteer in Little Miss’s classroom every Thursday, so the kids in her class know who I am. They were all very happy to hear that Mrs Jess was coming to the zoo with Mr M. Little Miss’s teacher, Mrs. B, came up to me and said that since I have such a strong connection with one of the kids who has emotional outbursts in class frequently (apparently I am good with dealing with people who freak out), if she could put him in our group for the zoo. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty nervous at first. Yes, I do have a special connection with this little boy. He listens to me when I talk to him, and when I’m in the classroom he actually gets work done, but I was kind of looking forward to a day with our daughter at the zoo for her first field trip. Of course I told Mrs B yes and then she said, “I think it will be good for R to be around you and your husband. You know he’s really a great kid, he just needs some love and attention, and I think you both will be able to give him that.” That really spoke to me. This teacher can obviously see what a great team we make and she feels it will really help this little boy. I felt honored she trusted us with that.
Zoo day arrives and Mrs B comes up to us before we all head out to the buses. She told us R’s dad might show up at the zoo, and that he “isn’t suppose to be there” What? I have to keep a child from his parent? Then I thought, thank God M is with me, then I felt this ache in my heart for this little boy. I can only imagine what his home life is like. I know his parents are divorced and he has been acting out ever since. I also know Mrs B was right, this kid just needs a little love and attention and then he will relax.
So that’s exactly what we were going to do at the zoo. It was just Little Miss, R, M, and I in a group. Each kid had a specific animal they needed to research at the zoo for a report they were putting together. R was fabulous the entire day! He was smiling ear to ear and had such a blast with Little Miss. No sightings of his dad, we saw every animal at the zoo, and we even saw the rain forest exhibit that was locked off to the public! R finished his entire paper for his report (this is a huge win) and Little Miss had a blast with her daddy and I. It was an overall amazing first field trip for everyone!
When we got home, Mrs B emailed me and thanked my husband and I for taking such great care of R. I guess he sat next to her the whole bus ride home from the zoo and talked non stop about how much fun he had with us. “He had an amazing time filled with love and positive attention. Thank you for taking such great care of him. I knew you both would be perfect for him.”
My first field trip is now in the books! The zoo was in full spring swing and it was an amazing eye opening experience of how thankful I am the munchkins have parents who love them and give them the positive attention they need.