Posts Tagged ‘After Care’

Mayfesting our Saturday away.

May 8, 2017

Saturday was Mayfest, a carnival held down on the river in the cultural district. There are rides and games and several music stages. Bee’s After Care program (all of them in the city, in fact) were putting on a show on one of the stages. Since Bee is the captain of the step team, the After Care director had been asking me since Christmas if Bee was going to be there. She knows we’re responsible and that many kids flake out and don’t show up to Mayfest because: traffic. The traffic is a nightmare. Last time we went, it took two hours to make a 20 minute drive.

So I wasn’t really looking forward to Mayfest, because on top of the lovely drive ahead of me, I also still had my bronchitis to deal with. My plans had been to just cuddle up with a book in bed and never change out of my pajamas. But: Mayfest. It was my Ex’s weekend; I could have laid Mayfest at his feet. But they had other plans and it was important to me after promising the director all year that Bee be there. And Bee’s best friend’s dad wasn’t able to take her and her mom was working, so now we were bringing Zari*, too.

So, Saturday rolls around and I pick up Bee-girl and then Zari. We headed out to the festival two hours early because I was a little paranoid about parking, and we wanted to have time for some carnival food and maybe a ride before we had to meet up with the group to practice.

And you know what happened, don’t you? Traffic was a piece of cake. I face worse traffic coming home from work every day. Sigh. So we enjoyed our extra time. We found the stage where we’d be performing and checked out all the rides and food tents (because the ground were laid out in a circle and our stage was the very last one). Then we all grabbed ice cream and drinks because 86°, all the sunshine, and we were all in pants. (Whoops.)

Then, because I’m a good mama who likes to let loose every once in awhile, we splurged on more than a few rides:

The girls loved the bungee jumps (and that’s good, because it was the most expensive ride there!). They did flips and jumps and I have no idea how they had energy left to stomp after all the jumping! They also demanded video, so I didn’t have memory left on my phone to get pictures of the rest of the rides. (They’re all on Bee’s phone and I haven’t gotten them from her yet.) They did a Superman-type ride where they laid down and did a tilt-o-whirl type thing on their stomachs like they were flying. (EESH!) They did the really high swings. They did a mirror maze that I thought looked fun and crazy enough that I’d have to go in there after them, but they were pretty good. [Bee-girl even said to me when we were pulling into the driveway that she hoped I wasn’t too lonely waiting while she and Zari were on all the rides. What a sweet girl to think of that!] The girls had a blast and I enjoyed being able to give them a bit of fun while we waited for the group to get there.

We also stuffed ourselves with food (ice cream, funnel cakes, roasted corn, turkey legs, beer, and so many cold sodas) and took advantage of all the freebies. And I have to say – the festival was really wonderful at having enough to do without spending tickets! (I guess to make up for $3 drinks?) There was a splash station, give-aways and free treats (we all got apples, yogurt, and won tshirts, towels, and sunglasses), and a stilt-walking station that gave lessons. The girls were surprisingly adept at stilts! I was amazed that after a time or two, they were walking up and down the walkway without a single falter! Their favorite freebie tent, though, was the art show.

Mayfest2

We spent a good half-hour in there, cooling off and examining technique on all of the drawings. They looked for and found their classmates entries, and Bee lamented that she hadn’t entered. (Her obsession with art mediums – especially drawing – has grown recently and I’m starting to wonder if art won’t play a larger role in her life. She has an aunt and a great-uncle who are both professionals, so there’s a strong possibility!)

After the art tent, it was time to wander back to the reason we were Mayfesting to begin with – the dance competition. The girls were impressed with the few shows we got to watch (I loved the traditional Mexican folk dancers), and they killed it when it was their turn!

You could see their faces light up when they heard the audience gasp and cheer them on. No one else had done anything outside of traditional “dancing” since it was a dance competition. But stepping is what our school wanted to do, and so that’s what they did, and I’m proud of them for it. I don’t think they won anything more than a participation ribbon, but they weren’t in it for a prize. It was wonderful to see my flighty, funky, hilarious little spazz monkey get up there and shout out the call-outs and lead the steppers with a loud, commanding voice and confidence in every movement.

It was a good, good day. Even if I went through three travel-packs of tissues and got a little sunburnt. I wasn’t planning on walking around a carnival for four hours, but I’m glad I got to spend some more time with my squinky, and that I got to give her a day of fun with her friend. Not a bad Saturday at all!

 

*Not her real name.

The single moms’ club.

September 24, 2014

The girls piled in the door last night, excited and out of breath, not an unusual occurrence after arriving from dinner at their dad’s house. They were talking over each other, petting the dog, and jockeying for hugs, babbling about their days. Bee, in particular, looked alight with news.

“Mom, J.Love’s [as we’ll call her] mom is going to text you about picking her up tomorrow,” she said, jumping from one foot to another. “Her mom is getting out a little late and so you can pick up J.Love.” Okay, I could do that. Except I hadn’t gotten a text, and much as I love our girls, they do have a tendency to sometimes get the details wrong.

I texted Sunni, and it turns out she did need a favor. She works for a local company and had been commuting two hours each way to the other side of the metroplex. She got a transfer this summer so her commute is more like 15-20 minutes, and so she felt good about signing J.Love up for the After Care program at school, even with its stringent – and early – pick-up times. Except she’s discovering now at her new location that even though she’s supposed to leave at 5:00, Sunni doesn’t always get out right on time. And she’s sometimes 10-15 minutes late to After Care. And After Care is not happy.

So now we have a new plan: on Mondays and Wednesdays, when I pick up the girls, I’m also going to pick up J.Love. Sunni will only be those 10-15 minutes behind us and can pick her up at our house. Yes, I’m sure some days it might run a little later than that, but that’s what you do to help out your friends. We single moms have to do what we can to help one another out. I remember when we were little, my best friend’s mom had a seizure and couldn’t drive for almost a year (I think it was a year; maybe it just felt like a year because we were little?). The other moms in our circle of friends made sure our friend got to Girl Scouts and CCD and to our houses after school to play. My group of friends, even as young as we were, we were learning how to take care of each other and our moms recognized that and helped us out. They helped their fellow mom out. That’s one of the reasons I’m helping.

Bee and J.Love are over the moon. They know it’s just 15 minutes. And yet Bee is already making homework club plans, God love her. I’m happy for them. It’s always good to have one more mama in your village. I’m glad that after all the years of Bee having a shifting base of friends, she’s starting to have some keepers, some girls who have stuck around. I’ll do whatever I can to help. Sometimes it’s as easy as giving a friend a ride home two days a week.

It’s certainly worth it for those smiles I saw last night!