Yesterday was a beautiful day, the kind of day we’ve been waiting for at Foster for the past six months. The sun was shining, the air was warm, the breeze was mild, and everybody wanted to be out in it, kids and parents.
When I got done teaching my Needlecrafts class at 3:30 and returned to the community room, everybody was gone and the place was a disaster. I sent Liam down to stay with Kender on the playground so Caitlin could go to Hunger Games, and then I spent 15 minutes or so picking up our things, collecting our bags by the door, putting away a few chairs. I left to spend some time outside seeing if I could get Kender to do some walking with the Mileage Club, confident that the other parents would eventually come in from the sun and do their usual awesome job of cleaning up after their families.
I came back in at 4:15 to find the room virtually unchanged from the way I left it. Knowing that other groups in the community use that room after we leave, I got to work cleaning up, still waiting for the other parents and kids to come help.
I put all of the toys that were literally scattered over the entire room back in the box we brought. I saw quite a few toys that I didn’t recognize, but there was nobody else to claim them. If I got your child’s toys, know that that box sits in my van and only comes out at Foster, so your toys will return with the box next week. (I know I grabbed Adia’s, but they were already in my van by the time her dad brought her up to the room to get her things.)
At 4:30, Hunger Games let out and I started seeing other kids come into the room for their things. I began taking my things out to the van, still confident that more would be done by others. I made three trips down to the van with the toy box, the yarn box, and an armload of bags. When I came back up to the community room, Tamara, Caitlin, and a couple of other kids riding home with us were standing near the door, having a debate about something. Most personal possessions had been removed from the room. Most. None of the furniture had been put away, and there was trash left behind on just about every table.
I spent the next thirty minutes putting away chairs, picking up other people’s wrappers, sandwiches (do you know how much mayonnaise and mustard gross me out? and then to have to handle somebody else’s half-eaten sandwich, left on a table without a plate, loaded with the disgusting, slimy substances?), pizza boxes, drink containers, plates, napkins, paper towels, and more. Before I was half finished, one of the staff at Foster came in and started putting away the furniture with me, taking out the trash cans when I finished picking up.
All the while, four teenagers stood at the door chatting, never moving to help.
We didn’t leave until 5:00. I found three library books scattered about the room and returned them on my way out. I was already having a really bad pain day when I woke up yesterday morning. By the time I left Foster, I could barely walk. I went to get gas on the way home and kind of dozed against the side of the van while the tank filled.
My husband was furious at me. He really wanted me to leave the room the way I found it, after picking up my things and putting away the furniture I got out and used. Had I done this, there would have been nobody else from our group to do the job. Everybody had left. I feel fairly certain that the results would have been a nasty call from Foster to Ann or Beth, since they are the point people for the group, and if it happened more than once, I also feel fairly certain that Foster would no longer allow us to use their building. Today I am again having a really bad pain day. Health-wise, Brian is probably right. I shouldn’t have done it. But I value our Foster co-op and the opportunity it provides for both children and parents.
I am about to be gone for the next three weeks, the last weeks of this term before summer break. I hope our group is allowed to come back this fall, without me there to clean up.