originally in Abilene Families

I have recently graduated to a new phase of parenthood. I am learning that parents in this phase are easily identified by blood-shot eyes punctuated with dark circles underneath, death grip on a cup of coffee, sensible shoes, and even a fanny pack for the die-hards. Yes, we are the sponsors for the overnight events when your teen travels.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for a church event, sports, band, choir, drama, FFA, or any of a million other activities that may require competition or conferences for teens, we all look and behave the same.

We are the parents traveling on buses that smell like diesel or in vans the size of a roller skate, eating food that tastes like the styrofoam packaging it comes in, popping ibuprofen like Pez, and breaking up fights and overly intimate teenagers all in the name of social responsibility... or sheer insanity.

These are the people who willingly give up a weekend or vacation time to ride on buses or vans. Occasionally they stand on the side of the road entertaining teens while a mechanic works on the bus or van, or they help to change the flat tire. The sponsor thinks the trip is luxurious if sleeping accommodations are under a roof and no sleeping bags are required.

These people get sucked into teen drama not of their own family, offer a shoulder for the latest break-up gone bad or when the competition goes awry, and cheer like nobody’s business during competition, even when it garners wave-away hands and eye rolls from the very teen that caused the sponsor to be on the trip in the first place.

Of course there are fun times. There may be an amusement park in July or camping in August, or a ski trip in February, whether or not snow has fallen that winter. I confess I walked on the beach on South Padre last summer as a sponsor, but never got in water deeper than my ankles since I was holding 4 cameras, 3 phones, and 2 pairs of shoes of kids who were in the water.

After a typical trip I return home to mounds of laundry from our suitcases as well as mounds of laundry and dishes from those left behind. I’m several pounds heavier from eating cold pizza and drinking warm soda late at night for dinner for a meal or two, wondering why the miles of walking didn’t seem to cancel out those calories.

I’m in desperate need of a trip to the salon for a massage from the bus trip and sleeping arrangements, as well as to cover all the new grays that have sprouted. I generally spend the first day or two at home in bed with a migraine from being sleep deprived.

But then I hear those precious words from my child that make it all worth it: “Mom, I need money for the band trip to Six Flags. You aren’t going, are you?”


Roxanne said...

Excellent. . ."popping ibuprofen like Pez." Maybe they SHOULD make some cute little dispensers for Motrin. . .something in black and hot pink with swirls maybe?

Trey Morgan said...

Oh, you've hit the "sponsor" stage. Ugh, I don't like the sponsor stage.

What I am thankful for is my kids always wanted me to go. Which was better than them not wanting me to go and saying things like, "Dad, you're not going are you?"

Michelle said...

Love it!

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