Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Fun Fair and a suicidal squirrel...

(I wrote this on Saturday, Sept 24)

The last few weeks have flown by and I guess you could say we’re back in the swing of the school routine.

It took the school over a week to figure out who was in what class, which annoyed me at the time, but now that everything has settled I’m glad with how it all worked out.  Andrew has adjusted great to his new class, and I really like his grade two teacher.  I found it exciting and a bit emotional when we first walked into his new classroom, because it feels so much more grown up than his previous classes.  He’s in a grade two/three split class, and everyone has their own ‘real’ desk that they can put things into (as opposed to the tables they sat at in his younger grades) and there aren’t any toy stations, but rather lots of chapter books to choose from, and board games that they occasionally get to play.  What really stuck out to me was the old-school pencil sharpener that’s attached to the wall around the corner of the cloak room.  It took me right back to my own grade two classroom, which honestly doesn’t feel like I was in nearly 30 years ago…!!

Time often seems to fly by quickly anyway, but these past few weeks have been extra busy between adjusting to the school schedule, having play dates and get togethers with friends, and lots of meetings and volunteer stuff happening at Andrew’s school.

I don’t think I wrote a lot last year about how I was Chair of the parent group at Andrew’s school, but this year I decided to step down and take the more passive role of ‘Past Chair’.  I enjoyed being Chair and it brought me so much more into the loop of the school community, but most importantly it helped get me out and much more social, and I can actually say now that I have a group of friends, all of whom I know I could truly count on.  The whole idea that ‘it takes a village’ - I can understand that so much better now than I did before, because I feel like I do have a village.  It’s so easy to feel isolated even in a big city, and I particularly find it hard to meet new people around here, partly because of how people have become accustomed to not really interacting a lot unless they already know each other, but also because I’m not super outgoing and tend to shy away from social things.  

I’ve actually amazed myself in the past few weeks with how much more outgoing I’ve been.  Which is not to say I’m actually feeling like I’m an outgoing person - I will always be in introvert!  But it’s nice to know that there are people I feel really comfortable around, and in general I’m really finding myself quite active in the school community.  It’s funny because I feel more connected now this year, taking a much less direct role with the parent group, than I did last year when I was the Chair of the group!  I could have been Chair for a second term but declined to do so because I find with the girls always in tow, it can be stressful for me to feel like I’m taking on a lead role.  James can’t work from home quite as readily as he could before taking on more responsibilities at the office, so I’d likely be taking the girls to most, if not all, the monthly meetings.  It proved stressful at our first meeting when I had to keep going over to the girls at the kid table to make sure they were happy and had something to do, causing me to miss bits and pieces of what was being said by the executive.  I feel that the person in Chair position should be able to give their 100% focus and attention at those meetings.  If I’d taken this on when the girls were in school and I had a lot more free time, I would have found it a lot less stressful.  But that being said, I’m proud of the job I did and am glad to have been involved.  And still plan to be, just not in the sense of feeling locked into it, if that makes sense.  I’m also going to be the Parent Rep for Andrew’s class, so I can stay involved that way, and also of course volunteer where I can for school activities.

This past week we held the Fall Fair at the school, and while there seemed to be a lot of stress leading up to it, it all came together amazingly well.  There’s a core group of us that does almost everything, but we have a few new recruits that came to our AGM that seem to want to get more involved.  I helped out for the morning getting things set up for the fair, while my mom looked after the girls at her place.  I basically became in charge of getting all the stuffies organized by size for the Stuffie Spin.  Lots of people donated stuffies for it, so there were a lot to go through.  The fair went from 3-6, and my plan was to take the kids home after school and then James would go with us around 4:30, and then he’d take the kids home and I’d stay on to help with cleanup.  But after school the kids were so excited to see everything, and it was so nice and sunny that it just made sense to stay.  I called James to make sure he was OK with missing the fair (which I knew he would be LOL) and the kids started playing all the games and winning little prizes.  They of course did the stuffie spin first...and then several times again after that, because we don’t have enough stuffed animals at home already (insert eye roll here!)

We ripped through all the tickets I’d pre-bought, and got some more because it was so fun and I wanted the kids to experience everything.  I didn’t want to spend TOO much, but at the same time it’s a school fundraiser so I was happy to be supporting it.  The kids played and did some of the games with their friends at the school, and it just felt like everything was perfect.  I was in a really good mood, and happy to have been able to take all 3 kids to an event like that on my own and not feel the least bit overwhelmed by it.

So the plan was I’d take the kids home, have a quick bite to eat, and I’d head back and help out in whatever way I could.  

We were driving home when a squirrel darted out into the road.  I’m sure you can see where this is going...At first it seemed no different than any other time a squirrel does that, which happens often enough given that we have a lot of squirrels where we live.  They dart out, look around a bit, and then keep going across the road or dart back while I’ve stopped for them.  In a few weeks I’ll have been driving for literally 20 years and I have never had any mishap with a squirrel, or anything else for that matter.  So I slowed to an almost stop, the squirrel kept going further across the road, and was far enough away that I felt it was safe to start driving again.  Well, as soon as I put my foot on the gas, the squirrel turned it’s head, I swear it looked right at me, and it happened in slow motion and yet at the same time it all took place in a split second.  That squirrel was under the tire and it was the worst feeling EVER as I knew I was driving right over top of it but there was nothing I could do.  I killed a squirrel.  It was absolutely DEVASTATING but there was nothing I could do, I had to just keep driving.  I of course started crying and the day was completely thrown off.  

It’s now Tuesday, September 27th and I’m still totally shaken by it.  I ended up sobbing for a while and just felt terrible, but I knew I’d feel even worse if I didn’t collect myself and go back to help out for the rest of the fair.  I ended up walking back to the school because I wasn’t  up to driving again that day, and Andrew tagged along with me which ended up being great.

We walked past the squirrel...Not up close, but close enough that I could see it was definitely dead (although oddly not the least bit squished-looking...TMI but it’s true!)  I told Andrew that I still felt terrible, and always would, knowing I was the cause of it’s death, but at the same time I was relieved to see it was dead and not suffering.  My worst fear was that it would still be slightly alive but in pain, and I couldn’t stand the thought of that.

Even though I was feeling really overwhelmed by what had happened, I made sure to put it to the back of my mind as much as I could to enjoy the fair with Andrew and be helpful with clean up and whatnot once the fair had ended.  Andrew and I had a great chat along the way to the school, and he had fun playing a few more games for free, in particular the stuffie spin...of course!  I didn’t buy any more tickets for it because I’d already spent a small fortune, but the Vice Chair told the people running the spin that I had pull there and could basically do what I wanted.  LOL!  

We hadn’t had dinner (unless you count the cotton candy we’d had with the girls earlier!) so I got Andrew some french fries and a chocolate milkshake, which he LOVED.  And then just did whatever needed to be done to get things sorted.  We were one of the last to leave the school, and it felt good to be helpful and feel like we were a part of pulling the whole thing off.  I know what went into putting on the fair, and it was great to see so many people there having a good time.  

I was also grateful to be keeping busy, because I ended up feeling pretty depressed later in the evening when I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor squirrel.  I know in my heart I couldn’t have done anything to make it not happen, but that doesn’t really make me feel better about it.  I think it also brought some feelings about Fifi to the surface, because we just lost her so recently and it just made me think about those little animal lives and how precious they are.  As a person who doesn’t eat animals because I love them, it doesn’t sit well with me to know I killed one, even if it wasn’t the least bit intentional!

Anyway...I have to say I feel anxious driving now.  Yesterday we were driving along in our old neighbourhood, which I actually peeled a dead squirrel from the road once when I was in my early 20s because I couldn’t stand being at the bus stop watching so many cars go by and just narrowly miss driving over it.  I’m forever haunted by how it’s tail was flapping in the wind every time a car whizzed past!  So I know it’s a high-squirrel-traffic area.  And wouldn’t you know, a squirrel DID bound out a little ways away from us.  Luckily I was extra cautious and off it went on its merry way, the way squirrels usually do.  But I said out loud, ‘There’s a squirrel!’ and Margaret replied, ‘Did you kill it, Mommy?’  LOL.  If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry!  I made sure she knew that NO, I DIDN’T kill it, and it was a fluke that it happened last week, I don’t plan on that ever happening again!!

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