Thursday, November 5, 2009

I am their leader

I told you once about how I sort of stumbled into being the chairperson of the Management Committee at Nate's preschool. The woman who did it the year before me is one of those uber-organized, together type of people. She's so organized that she probably knows how to type that little "u" with the two dots above it to spell "uber" correctly. She's also incredibly personable and makes everything she does seem easy. And when she told our preschool director, Judy that she couldn't be the chairperson this year, Judy let out a silent scream.

Actually that looks a little like it was painted in a preschool. Was Edvard Munch an early childhood specialist?

Anyway, the previous chairperson couldn't do it this year and thus a new search began. And there weren't many volunteers. Ok, there weren't any volunteers. At which point, the qualifications were lowered to require that someone have two things, A: a child in the preschool, and B: a pulse. I actually meet both those requirements, and in an elaborate ceremony early this year, was crowned Supreme Empress and Queen of All Preschool Parents. Fear me! I am kind of like Queen Amidala:

But my hair is more of a blondish color.

Whereas, the previous years' chairpersons had to oversee fundraising endeavors for the school, that role isn't there anymore. So, as Judy anxiously told me last year, as chairperson I would just need to be comfortable with public speaking and being in front of people. Was I comfortable with that? Yeah, I think I can handle that. (I enjoy working a room, you see. I used to be embarrassed to admit it, but hey. I gotta be me.)

And it's actually been a pretty good year. I chair monthly meetings, show up to family events that the school hosts, and help revise preschool policies. I check in with the director each week when I drop Nate off and see if she needs me to do anything. I nod sagely when it seems like I ought to know what she's referring to. And I smile really big at all the other moms.

Yesterday, I was picking Nate up from school and went to chat with Judy about our upcoming Information Night, for parents of incoming students. (Here in Oz, the school calendar follows the year calendar--so a new school year will start in late January.) I have to give a little speech and write something for the newsletter. No probs. Then she sort of smiles in a cringing sort of way and says, "And how are you for next year?" Meaning, did I want to remain the chairperson.

You know how it is when you are trying to figure out what someone is wanting you to do or say? I was actually fine to do it again or pass on my duties. But I couldn't tell from the cringing if she was bracing herself that I might say, "Yes! I'd love to stay on!", or "No, I don't think I can do it next year." Her face kind of froze in that smiley, cringe-y position.

Then we did The Dance. Do you know what The Dance is? It's sort of like a verbal version of when you almost run into someone. And they step one way to go around you, but you also step that way. Then you both step the other way. So it was like:
Me: Well, would you like me to stay on?
Judy: Well,would you like to stay?
Me: Well, I don't mind, unless there's someone else who would like to.
Judy: Well if there is, would you like them to do it instead?
Me: Well, only if they really want to...

And so we danced! You get the idea. It went on for a few more minutes, as I stood there holding Grace in one arm and my car keys, Nate's backpack, artwork and pillow in the other. And finally I decided to put poor Judy out of her misery by just saying, Yes! I'd be happy to continue on as chairperson if she was happy to have me. Hoping that this would provide her an out if she is secretly wanting to oust me. How would Amidala behave in a coup, do you think? I'm takin' all the fingerpaints and the school fish with me!

Whew! That one conversation--both of us trying to read what the other person is wanting us to say--was more tiring than a whole year's worth of chairperson duties! Kind of like how tired you must be feeling right now, having read this whole post.

I mean, I can stop writing now. But I don't have to. Would you like me to stop? I mean, I don't mind either way. I can keep going if that's better for you. It's just that if you have somewhere else to go, I totally understand. Here. I'm just gonna close my eyes and while they're closed, you can either stay or go. If you want to. Okay? Either way.


  1. It is a total coincidence that my two favorite bloggers are sisters. I love people who make me chuckle. And now I get to chuckle EVERY day! You funny thing, you. I'm still here, and may sit here until tomorrow's post is up.

  2. I've been the chair of the Sunday school board at my church for several years, and I'm ready to pass the hat. Or crown. I admire you for being willing to take on another year!

  3. Aargh! I feel the pain! Hilarious, like, remember that Seinfeld where Kramer starts the Moviephone hotline, only he isn't a computer, though he wants people to think he is, so when they're punching buttons he can't tell what they mean, so he says, in a computerish tone, "Why don't you TELL ME what movie you want to see?" Matt and I use that all the time. Anyway, it's like, lady, why don't you TELL me what you want me to do??

    I am sure that if she DIDN'T want you to stay on next year, she wouldn't have brought it up right then, doncha think? She might have quietly set about finding an alternate person, and then packaging the whole thing as a succession. That's my take, Amidala. How are things on Naboo?

  4. It's funny that the conversation about taking on the role is harder than the role itself!!

    I'm sure she was hoping you'd continue on with it, but didn't want you to feel pressured. It's difficult to get good [friendly fun, sparkling people like you!] to stay in volunteer roles like that.

    I like the sound of you nodding sagely - a crucial part of the role? :D

  5. I was the treasurer at our preschool, then the secretary when Girl Spawn was in Year 1 and then President of the PTA when she hit Year 2 in Canada.

    Now that we're here in Oz? Sooooo done! I totally do NOT envy you.

  6. Aw, thanks Bren!

    Yeah, I think she's probaby fine with me doing it, and I really don't mind as it's not too taxing and it's a good way to get to know the other parents. And Mai, I nod sagely all the time--haven't you noticed? I am, like, so sage.

    Mad Woman, wow! You have me beat! Sounds like you're taking a well-deserved break, though. :)

  7. Gosh I leave for a day and I've got gobbs to catch up on!

    (yeah she was really thinking PPLLEEAASSEE stay on, we LOVE YOU!)

  8. you are über sage. ;-) hee. (of course you realize I included the two dots over the u to be a stinker)

    You are so right about the dance!