Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fundraiser

I. Hate. Fundraisers.

There. I said it. Hate is such a strong word . . . as a matter of fact, I've taught (or rather am trying to teach!) Mason and Hannah Kate that hate is a bad word and one we do not use . . . but in this case, it's most appropriate to describe how I really feel. I've always hated fundraisers, even when I was a school girl, and they sent me home with wrapping paper to sell. My mom would usually buy some, and I might ask Grandmother or MeMama, but that was it. Let's just say I never won the prize for most sold!

I knew it was coming. And I was trying to brace myself for Mason's first fundraiser. It came at the beginning of September. A note came home from school explaining that the fundraiser was about to begin . . . the money would be used to pay for field trips . . . blah blah BLAH . . . and they were asking each child to sell at least one box of the World's Finest Chocolate . . . worth $50. Great. Chocolate. Actually, I can't find a thing wrong with chocolate. I L O V E chocolate! I just don't want to sell chocolate. Anyway, the letter was asking the parent to sign a release form acknowledging that we would take full responsibility for the box of candy that is sent home with the child. At this point, please note that the letter DID NOT saying anything about this fundraiser being VOLUNTARY.

So I thought about it . . . actually thinking I really didn't have a choice in the matter anyway so there was really no reason to be thinking about it . . . and signed the form. After all, I want Mason to go on field trips! I want to be a team player! I want to support his school! I just want to be MOM OF THE YEAR . . . so that means putting on my big girl panties and selling some World's Finest Chocolate. Okay, so I'm going to be totally honest here. I had NO INTENTION of selling that candy. My plan was to send $50 to school to cover one box of chocolate candy and be done with it. I hadn't yet decided what to actually do with the candy.

Two weeks later, I attended the PTSA meeting. The Executive Director (AKA Principal) gave his monthly report, which included a break down of how many students per grade had agreed to sell candy. Out of 80 kindergarteners, only 29 were going to sell candy! What?!? Great. Now I'm one of 29. Again, the letter did not mention that this was OPTIONAL. Well, it was obviously too late at that point. I stewed about it for several days afterwards though.

And then the following week, a note came home from Ms. Alexander. She wanted to know if I wanted to come to school and pick up the candy or send it home with Mason on the bus. MSA is about a 20-minute drive out-of-the-way-from-anywhere-I-go-which-is-only-once-a-week-anyway-that-I-go-anywhere from our house. Besides, the last thing I wanted to do was drag Hannah Kate and Connor to school just to pick up a box of candy. I saw no reason why Mason couldn't put the box in his back pack and come home with it. It was a no-brainer to me. I quickly scribbled a note back that it would be fine to send the candy home with Mason.

So the next day, I'm waiting at the end of the driveway as I always do for Mason to get home from school. The bus pulls to a stop, and Mason steps off. And then I see another student standing by the door holding a box of candy. This would be my first inkling that perhaps this whole candy-on-the-bus-thing wasn't such a great idea after all. And then the bus driver motions me over. This would be my second inkling that candy-on-the-bus is definitely not a great idea. So I take the box of candy from the other student, at which time Mr. Lewis hands me a note card.I only heard him say, "I'm gonna get that money for you." Keep in mind that this whole scenario plays out in about five seconds, but that is more than enough time for me to know that something has gone horribly wrong. At this point, I'm in a daze so I just smile and shake my head and mutter my appreciation.

As I'm heading back up the driveway with Mason, I take a peek at the card. There are several kids' names written on the card with a dollar amount by their name. Uh-oh. This isn't good. And then I look closer. There are several kids with not $1, but $3, beside their names! Great. Just great. I feel pretty sure I won't see that money, but I really don't care. My original plan was to go ahead and send $50 to school anyway to cover the box of candy. Well, at least now I'm down to 30-something bars in that box to get rid of. But I do begin to worry . . . I'm sure some of these kids' parents aren't going to be thrilled that they're bringing home this candy that they're now supposed to pay for . . . not to mention the kids with multiple bars of candy.

Okay, so maybe I didn't exactly think this through very well. I never really said anything to Mason about it. I didn't explain to him that candy would be coming home with him. I didn't explain to him that we were supposed to SELL the candy . . . not give it away. I just didn't think it was a big deal. I didn't think he'd even be curious about it. I figured it would be just fine in his back pack. So I don't say anything to him about it. We're almost to the house when I notice what appears to be chocolate at the corners of his mouth. I begin to think . . . I almost asked, but I didn't . . . surely not. And then I remembered that I had put a miniature pack of M&Ms in his lunch box as a small treat that day. Yes. Yes, that must be it. Those M&Ms that he ate at lunch time left behind a little chocolate at the corners of his mouth. That would make perfect sense . . . were it not for the fact that he eats lunch at 10:15, and it was now 2:55 . . . so it's doubtful that same chocolate would be there. But still. I didn't say anything. Surely not . . .

So we go inside and begin our after school routine. I asked him what he wanted for a snack. After all, he eats lunch at 10:15 and always comes home hungry. He said he wasn't hungry. The rest of the conversation went like this:

Me: What? You aren't hungry? You're always hungry when you get home from school.

Mason: No. I ate already.

Me: What do you mean you "ate already?"

Mason: No response.

Me: What did you eat?

Mason: Chocolate.

Me: What?!? (And then I didn't want to ask, but I knew I had to.) How many did you eat?

Mason: No response. But he holds up four fingers.

4. Four. FOUR.

Me: You ate FOUR candy bars!!!

Mason: It was all I had, and I was hungry.

At this point, there was nothing left to do . . . except count the candy bars left in the box . . . add back the ones that were distributed on the bus . . . and subtract from 50. Sure enough. There are four missing. There was also nothing left to say. While I think he should've "known better," should he? Not only did I not explain the candy situation to him, but I also didn't tell him not to eat any of it. So I just let it go. In the meantime, I noticed that the bars of choice were caramel and dark chocolate almond. There were hardly any of those left in the box. And then another thought hit me.

I was concerned about the candy that I thought the kids on the bus had taken home. But if Mason ate all four of his candy bars on the bus, chances are the kids did the same. Great. Just great. So not only are those parents going to find out that they owe me money, but they're also going to find out that I sugared their kids up on the way home from school!

The next morning, Mr. Lewis handed me a wad of cash when I put Mason on the bus. I couldn't believe it. That sweet man saw to it that ALL of the money was collected. In the meantime, I talked to a friend who has two children who ride the same bus, both of which were given multiple candy bars. We still aren't sure how it went down, and it really doesn't matter, but her 1st grader told her that Mason just started giving out the candy . . . out of the kindness of his heart, I'm sure.

And, just so you know . . . Mason DID NOT eat supper that night! I kept waiting for him to get sick, but he never did. I also profusely apologized to Mr. Lewis the following day!


Lauren said...

HA-HA-HA!! This post reminded me of all the candy we sold for our choral trips. I always ended up short when I counted up the money. Darn those Skittles. They were my weakness.

Mimi said...

What a HOOT!
Our Mason . . . he has learned so well to share! Bless him! What a love he is!!

Booksh Bunch said...

IT WAS A HI-LARIOUS SITUATION!!! It was no biggie to me:-)

Jennifer Hawkins said...

This had me rolling!! I love that kid!!

The Scharlows said...

This is hilarious! Poor Mason, he was just being nice! haha And by the way, I share with you the hate for fundraisers!