Tea for Two (and more)

Last week was the Volunteer Tea at the school. I go every year but I don’t really look forward to it, if you know what I mean. I don’t dread it or anything, but it has always felt like more of a duty than a great pleasure or celebration. With the exception of the year Jake was in kindergarten, my children have never been involved in the performances, and so it’s mostly just a morning of drinking bad coffee and watching other people’s children. Which is fine! I always like seeing my friends’ kids perform and I always, always enjoy the completely adorable kindergarten performance, but, well, you know.

This year was different. For one thing, I am VERY COGNIZANT of the fact that I have only one more year left at the school, which makes me enjoy things a lot more. For another, Mark was the emcee for the tea, which was the first time ever he had emceed. I was PRETTY EXCITED when he told me of his moment in the spotlight, although that excitement was slightly dimmed by the fact that he had already known for two weeks and hadn’t thought to tell me.

This is the conversation we had a few weeks ago.

Mark: Are you going to the Volunteer Tea?

Me: Of course, I go every year.

Mark: Oh good, because I’m the emcee.

Me: OMGOMGOMG THAT’S AWESOME I’M SO PROUD OF YOU AND I’M SO EXCITED! Did you just find this out today?

Mark: No, Ms. H. asked me a couple weeks ago.

Me: Why didn’t you tell me?

Mark: I AM telling you.

Mark and his emcee partner did a great job, and the highlight for me was winning a door prize and having Mark call out my name – he was so excited. The door prize, by the way, was a begonia. I had already put in all my bedding plants so I really had to squeeze it in, but it looks beautiful.

And, of course, the kindergarten performance was a delight. The three morning kindergarten classes filed in and it took way longer for them to get set up for their song-and-dance routine than the actual routine, which is quite entertaining in itself. Okay, you stand there, now we are making a circle, remember, face your partner. I just love how some kids get really into it, and others sort of stand there and mouth the occasional word.

Speaking of which, one of the Grade One/ Two classes performed a song about different Canadian coins, which is one of those tenacious earworms. I was humming along for days: the beaver, oh! The beaver! A little part of history…But I digress. I was mentally picking out my friends’ kids in the class and smiling at the enthusiasm of the hand gestures, when I noticed a boy in the back row standing stock still. I kept my eye on him as he looked side to side, and then began slowly edging back, behind the boy beside him, who was taller. It was super stealthy; he edged inch by inch until he was completely behind the other boy. I assume he thought he was hidden from view. The gig was kind of up when the other boy realized something was happening, turned around, and jumped a little to see someone right behind him. Since they were on the top row of risers I was a little nervous it would all end with someone falling off but luckily, no such incident occurred.

In addition to hosting the Volunteer Tea, later on the same day the school hosts a Senior’s Tea for the elderly in our community, of which there are many. All the morning’s performances were to be repeated in the afternoon for the seniors’ entertainment, and Mark and his partner were, of course, emceeing as well. As in most senior’s groups, there is a dearth of men; however, Mark mentioned that there was one elderly fellow who chatted with him for a bit. The festivities were about to start, and Mark asked him to take a seat. “Okay!” the old man said. “We’re a little short at home. Which one should I take?” Ah, old man humour. Who can resist it?

I knew for a fact that my sweet next door neighbour was at the tea, and so I asked Mark if he had seen her.

Me: Did you talk to Mrs. G?

Mark: I don’t know. Maybe.

Me: What do you mean, maybe?

Mark: Well, I said hi to everyone who came in the door.

Me: Well, did you SEE Mrs. G?

Mark: I’ve got to be honest with you, Mom. All those old ladies? They look alike to me. I can’t tell them apart.

Me: Oh.

Mark: Well, they all have short grey hair and glasses and they all had kind of the same clothes, so I just really didn’t know. And there were so many of them!

Well. At any rate, by all accounts the tea was a success. We followed it with one of those very busy, productive weekends that had me crossing things off the to-do list like crazy. I even helped my husband clean the eavestroughs. Every year, it’s the same. My husband briefly considers hiring someone to clean the eavestroughs. Then he says that he’s not going to pay “some asshole” $90 for something he can do himself. (Note: it’s always “some asshole.”) Then, midway through cleaning out the disgusting debris, while I hold the ladder and try not to get disgusting debris dripped on my person, he says Why didn’t I just HIRE someone to do this? By the time the job is finished, however, he says he is GLAD he never hired anyone, and it’s not so bad, while I scrub off whatever has dripped on me and track pine needles everywhere. Ah, it’s nice to know what to expect in life, sometimes, isn’t it? Just like an old man joke, it’s nice sometimes to know the punchline.


  1. N would totally wait 2 weeks to tell me he was emceeing an event. And J would tell me the instant she got off the school bus.

    I am utterly charmed by the word “eavestroughs.” We call them gutters here, which certainly lacks poetry.

  2. I am dying laughing at your Note. We cleaned out the shed this weekend, removing a lot of little kid toys (sniff) and making room for bikes, scooters, etc.I have never seen so many chipmunk droppings and nut shells. Our neighbor has apparently upgraded from peanuts to pecans in her rodent buffet. No wonder the local squirrels are as big as rabbits.

  3. So his kindergarten year Oldest failed to tell me AT ALL that he had a solo in the K/1 music program. A friend emailed me a video from his afternoon performance that I missed because I had no idea he had a solo. Luckily I could go to the evening performance, but come on, kid! Sigh.

    H cleaned the gutters himself for years, complaining loudly the entire time. FINALLY last year he agreed to hire someone mainly because he’d started a new job and was insanely busy. I’m not sure he’ll ever go back to doing them himself. FREEDOM 😉

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