I hit a milestone of sorts yesterday morning. I attended my last-ever PTA meeting at my daughter's school.
I hesitate to say "last ever," because who knows what the future will bring? I did, after all, just volunteer to sell cakes at my son's school yesterday morning. And as all those who've ever been involved in a PTA well know, once you start selling cakes, it's a slippery slope from there. (I once walked into a meeting intending to volunteer to bake some brownies and somehow walked out running the school's largest fundraiser for the next three years.)
But for this year at least, and quite possibly the next several, I'm done with the PTA.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I've made a ton of friends through the PTA. It was the first way that I plugged into British society when I moved here from the States four years ago.
Raising money for the school has also made me feel like a responsible, engaged, committed parent. And it's been a great use of that lonely, frustrated, administrative "project manager" who lives inside my writer body, crying out to anyone who will listen to set her free to just ... run something.
And, hey, let's face it, it's the PTA that's really given me the platform with which to run for Mayor of Hampstead.
On the other hand, it's time to step down. I just got an incredibly detailed point-by-point email in my inbox from a fellow parent who'd like to see other parents coordinate more with teachers on how to bring additional resources to the school in these cash-strapped times. It's a perfectly good idea and one that we may well need to implement. But whereas my inner Manager would have once gobbled up this email and skipped off to try to implement it, today I just hit "delete." And happily so.
And that decision is not dictated by anything personal or even professional. It's just that I no longer have the energy to put into the PTA. Or, better stated, I have that energy but it's not energy that I wish to devote to the PTA anymore.
Because like jobs and careers and houses and seasons (cue The Byrds performing Turn, Turn, Turn), everything has a life cycle. Even your extracurricular activities. And you need to acknowledge when you've lost your mojo and it's time to move on.
So, farewell, class teas and school raffles and the laminator-for-making-posters-that-never-really-laminated-but-that-was-half-of-the-fun and all those local business owners who greet me by name and still offer me freebies in their shops just out of habit. It was a great ride.
And to the incoming crew, I say Godspeed.
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