Over It

There’s a meeting at Me Too’s preschool tomorrow.

(Sigh. Cough. Sigh.)

I really do not want to go. Actually, that phrase does not do justice to my current inner turmoil. I have a cold (cough, sniff.) That alone is reason enough to make me feel less than enthusiastic about spending most of the morning in a damp, stuffy room with thirty other moms, half of whom will have their tired, hungry younger offspring with them. But the real reason I don’t want to go is because this is the meeting where they will decide who has to be in charge of the Wakare-kai, the big end of preschool party that is so over the top that we must start planning for it six-freaking-months ahead of time.

Every mom will have a role. When Me First was in preschool, I was on the decoration committee and spent hours assembling crepe paper flowers and making paper chains.

And then he caught the flu, and we didn’t even go.

Life didn’t end. He didn’t care. It left no deep wound of regret.

But the lead-up to this stupid party, all of the preparation and emails and meetings that went into it left a very sour taste in my mouth about the whole Japanese preschool experience.

I’m happy enough to help, but the trouble this year is that I’m sure to be short listed for being in charge of the stupid thing.

And I am just not capable. There’s too much reading and writing and “Japanese heart” behind a thing like this, they may as well ask me to organize a Buddhist funeral. I remember several blush-inducing occasions three years ago when I understood every word that was being said, but completely missed the meaning behind it.

But of course no one else wants to do it, either. The teacher will ask me in front of everyone. I’ve volunteered for lots of things, and maybe she thinks it’s a sure shot. So, I will have to accept a job I can’t possibly do well or have to admit in front of just about as judgemental a group of women as you can imagine that I cannot read or write their holy language with fluancy. Then brace myself while they whisper やっぱり…

Why is this such a big deal? I keep asking myself. Maybe it’s having spent my formative years in the foothills of Appalachia. The kids from Bus 64 that came to our school from an elevation closer to God than to modern man, with unsigned permission slips and constant excuses, thumbs placed carefully over wobbly signatures and the occasional “x.” Or maybe I learned a sense of pride and shame elsewhere, who knows.

But I’m just kind of over the whole thing. I’m tired of doing things I don’t want to do that serve no purpose. I’m tired of hours spent in PTA meetings, where they explain what is already written on a piece of paper while Me Too gets bored and restless. I’m not interested in how everyone spent their summer vacation.

Me Too is supposed to have class observation tomorrow. They’re practicing for the Sports Day she won’t go to because we’ll be stateside for my brother’s wedding. Then she’ll watch a movie in the auditorium while the parents use the classrooms for their meeting.

Would it be really awful for both of us to just skip the BS and go out for a nice mother/daughter lunch? I do have the cold. Perhaps it’s a gift of sorts.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chrysanthemummum
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 18:00:38

    I say go for that mother-daughter lunch, but they may vote you in to be party planner in your absence!

    The reading and writing thing here is really hard and time consuming. Why would anybody expect a non-native speaker to have responsibility for disseminating information?


    • hamakkomommy
      Sep 08, 2013 @ 18:55:39

      I think everyone would continue to just look down if I’m put in the hot seat, and just be thankful it isn’t them.

      Happened at the first PTA meeting for elementary school. There’s one job no one ever wants to do because it involves cold calling parents who have been nominated for PTA officer roles by anonymous questionnaire. The first grade teacher, I think, just looked at her roll and called out a random name, which happened to be mine. From my kid’s name, you wouldn’t expect a gaijin mom, after all. I could see the “oops” look on her face almost immediately, but it was too late to take it back.

      I said I would be happy to help, but that I wasn’t really capable of doing all the reading and writing this would involve without some help. (Making the questionnaire, gathering the info, calling the people to convince them to do a job they most surely do not want to do, and then writing a report about it.) The teacher said it wasn’t possible to split the job between two people. Still no one volunteered or even looked up for a very long minute or so. Finally, a kind of strange mom said in a loud, rude, way $BL5NA$8$c$s(B and got the teacher to move on down the list.

      I could take the same approach tomorrow, I guess. I don’t mind doing what I am capable of, after all. It’s kind of a catch 22. I want my kids and I to be treated the same as others, on the one hand, but on the other there are times when we need a little help or a looser leash.

      But I really do not think I can listen to another thirty minute round of “how we spent our summer vacation” while my kid watches a movie in the auditorium, (for which we are paying 300 poppers a month) without absolutely losing it on someone.


  2. gaijinwife
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 19:05:18

    sounds as painful as our summer kinder festival bollocks. I don’t think they would have the balls to nominate you in your absence – surely a mum will step up for you and say that its a bit too much work in Japanese for the gaijin. I get it though. You don’t want different treatment but… at the end of the day…. The summer festival was painful. Went fine on the day but the misundertandings and complete fuck me overs I had with teachers leading up to it were super stressful.

    Go out for lunch with Me Too.

    But if you guys go, I wont to hear all about it )


    • hamakkomommy
      Sep 08, 2013 @ 19:58:52

      That’s a really good comparison, thank you GW! Me Too’s school has 90 other kids in her year, so really there has to be at last 89 other people who are better qualified to do this than me.


  3. Kym
    Sep 08, 2013 @ 21:15:40

    Skip! Skip! Skip! *Yes*, the cold is a gift. People sound extra nasal in the morning – perfect for calling and saying you’re so sorry you can’t make it.


    • hamakkomommy
      Sep 08, 2013 @ 21:24:57

      If I’m as booger-rific tomorrow morning as I am now, I won’t go. There will be babies there, and (as we learned the hard way with RSV) what is just a cold for an older child or adult can be really awful for babies.


  4. mimi
    Sep 09, 2013 @ 01:48:11

    Hope you decide on mother daughter lunch! That is what I would do.


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