It’s been a while since I put my hand up for anything. Ill health and an ex-military friend who wisely told me to never volunteer for anything helped shape that decision. It took me years to take her advice but that’s where I’ve been. All tucked up and warm and not involved. For a few years at least. But I wasn’t always that way.
At work I was usually the girl to put her hand up for arranging socials and reunions. I was on the board for our school reunion, class of 81. It was horrible. People hung around in the same clutches. My now ex but then current man did exactly the same he had done at school. Ignored me and lurked with a mate eyeing up a girl called Wendy.
Years later when I had my first baby my place became a club house for the mothers group. My doors were always open but my snacks were a little repetitive. Cheese and pineapple on sticks. Anything involving chocolate. I could manage some of the requirements but not others. I’m the same now. I have signature dishes and favourite salads I trot out with minimum effort. There’s really no need to reinvent the wheel.
I’ve woman-ned cupcake stalls at school fetes. Arranged fund raising activities for class camp funds. Calendar making, soup kitchens, that sort of thing. I sewed over fifty gnomes for a new parents welcome morning tea. In fact I couldn’t stop. I just kept sewing them. I held a knitting group at my house and made the same bread every week. I ran the second hand book store at the school festival. My own personal version of dying and going to heaven.
Then my health overwhelmed me and I retired to the country to write and watch foreign films. And there I’ve been ever since. No reading groups at the school. No teaching kids to knit beanies any more. But life goes in cycles and the next one is looming.
Next year son no.1 is going on his first rugby tour to New Zealand. I know. Scary hey? A fair amount of fund raising goes into that trip. Would I be one of the parents going round with the meat tray on a Friday night? Or a bouncer at the local teenage disco? Filling water bottles, setting up stands for sporting events. Maybe not.
I put my hand up for the coordinator of these voluntary events. Yes, me. Who hasn’t worked in an office since there was a 19 in the year. Whose list of undeleted emails sit there for long enough to claim squatters rights. I’m messing with the big boys now! With the husband at my back. I’m a little overwhelmed at the details involved in this task but I will do my best and remember the Brownies motto: Lend a Hand.
And of course if anyone needs a gnome for company or a knitted bag for their rugby boots, I’m their girl.
PS I apologise in advance to any rugby parents who I confuse in the process of trying to make things easier for them. To be honest I’m more Bubble than Miss Moneypenny.