Every year, our school holds 2 feasts, for Thanksgiving and for Christmas/winter holidays. Now by feast, I mean they serve a turkey dinner in the cafeteria. They send home bulletins about these feasts so parents know about them and can reserve their paid (that's exactly how they write it) meals. They make a huge fuss about how one feast will be for half the school (say kindergarten through second grade) and the other for the rest. Given the 3 year split between my kids, someone in this house is always invited to every feast.
So today was the Thanksgiving feast, and it was Sabrina's turn. So I sent her off this morning sans lunchbox, expecting to hear how tasty/dry/yucky/fabulous the feast was. I knew the cafeteria was fancied up with fall decorations and this was a big deal and very nice thing for the school to do for the kids. Since this wasn't my first rodeo, I decided to abstain (I really didn't want to fork over cash for school cafeteria food, no matter what school district celebrity was dishing it out). I'm an school a-plenty, including lots of lunches when I'm either volunteering to help the teachers maintain order to just hanging with the kids. No biggie.
Well, at approximately 8 minutes into Sabrina's lunchtime, I got a call from a friend whose daughter is in class with mine, asking if I would be coming because Sabrina was very confused and wouldn't go through the food line. Good gracious. I told her to send Sabrina through the line, which she should have figured out since she didn't have a packed lunch, all the while wondering why it wasn't just a given because all the kids were getting this special feast today, right? Turkey for everybody, yes?
Of course, I felt completely guilty, so I threw on my shoes and hightailed it up to school. She's just sat down with her tray when I caught up with her, and she looked a little dejected until she saw me. I asked her if she thought I was coming all along, but she just shrugged, which meant yes. Strike one, Mommy. And then I asked her the question that was bugging me since I hung up the phone. "Sabrina, did you have to pay for this feast?" "Uh huh."
I swear, in the 5 previous years we have been a part of this school, the feast have always been free for the students. I remember each and every time I have to send money to school - and there are many - but never for this. So not only did my daughter expect me to be somewhere I really had no plan to be (not that I would have said no if she'd asked), she had to overdraw her lunch account to participate. Luckily, I had some cash in my pocket and could put her account back in the black, but I was a little steamed and a lot confused. That fancy purple flyer (see, I remember the color of the note!) didn't say anything about the cost of the student meal. The parent meal, sure, because you had to make a reservation, but not the kids. Strikes two and three, Mommy. You are OUT.
I realize this is so not a major thing and Sabrina will not be scarred for life. She's probably forgotten about the whole business by now. But I'm annoyed. Maybe I'm naive to think anything like this could just be a nice gift. Or just entirely too optimistic.
Hopefully, the three remaining Thanksgiving dinners we'll be having over the next ten days will negate this starter meal. I guarantee my potatoes won't come from a box.