It's that time of year again. School fundraiser time. We can all inwardly groan together. It is a painful and expensive time unless you happen to work in an office where all of your colleagues would love to buy fancy wrapping paper (it's lovely, but expensive) and magazine subscriptions (I now save my renewals for the fundraiser). Which I don't happen to work in. So, I sell them to my only colleague. CG. And my parents are always good sports about buying some from each child to help them earn the prize of the year.
And there always is a prize of the year! The do an entire assembly to show all the kids just what they'll be missing out on if they don't participate in the fundraiser! Not only are the prizes offered for the number of items sold, but also bigger prizes for large amounts of money coerced out of the loving adults around you. Prizes like exploding toilets!! I'm not sure what comes exploding out of those toilets, but I can tell you that I certainly don't want to find out.
In years passed, Lolly has come home excitedly telling us of all the fun and wonderful prizes she is sure to win just by selling a few little things from the fundraiser catalog. I would gently break it to her that she probably won't be getting an exploding toilet, but that we'll make sure her order is enough to get her a couple of ducks or penguins or whatever the prize of the year is. (Which, by the way, with two children in school this is now quite a bit more expensive.)
This year it didn't happen. Lolly climbed into the van, buckled up and began to tell us about her day. An assembly is still noteworthy in second grade, but this one she mentioned in passing. Our conversation went a little like this....
Lolly: We had an assembly today so we didn't get to go to the computer lab.
Me: What was your assembly about?
Lolly: It was about the school fundraiser.
Me: Was it fun? (A little confused about her lack of usual enthusiasm)
Lolly: It was ok. They just talked about the fundraiser. But I'm not going to do it this year.
Me: Why not? (Now totally confused by this madness.)
Lolly: Well, last year they told us that if we sold things for the fundraiser we could earn little ducks that are dressed up like little things. And I did and I turned it in but I never got my ducks. They aren't actually going to give us those penguins, they just want our money.
Me: Well, honey, I'm sure it will work out this year. We'll order some stuff so you can get some penguins.
Lolly: No, I don't want to. I'm not going to do it. (Unusually adamant...)
Me: Okay....well, it's up to you. Just think about it.
Now, at first I found this little conversation amusing. Her rant about fundraiser scams had a remarkable similarity to her father's, but with more cynicism. And I found it sad that she was so bitter and....I don't know. It just sounded wrong coming out of her sweet little mouth. She is just too young to have lost all faith in the PTA. That shouldn't come until many years from now when she is helping out with the PTA at her children's school.
Sadly, her cynicism and lack of faith is not unjustified. Last year, the fundraiser prize was little ducky key chains to be collected on an official fundraiser lanyard. This was a big deal. They were so cute! And much more attainable than the exploding toilet. The same exploding toilet that will never be allowed to cross the threshold of our front door. Or back or side doors either.
We purchased the required items, along with my parents and I believe my sister also bought a roll of wrapping paper as well (it was my favorite design of the year) and filled out the paperwork and ducky coupons. We sent it all to school with Lolly and she excitedly anticipated her longed for reward. And waited. And waited some more. The fundraiser ended. The items were delivered, although I had to practically stalk the school in order to find out when the perishable cookie dough was going to be delivered since it didn't come in the first delivery.
But the ducks never came.
At our family Halloween party, my parents even provided adorable ducky prizes AND lanyards to be enjoyed by all of the kids. Lolly enjoyed them immensely, while mentioning that she was supposed to get them at school but never did.
I knew she was bummed out about not getting her fundraiser ducks but I really had no idea how deep her disappointment went. It was really just so sad to hear her talk about it this year. But! New year, new school! I eventually talked her into giving it one more chance (yes, I realize that it may seem crazy but I had to restore her faith in humanity) and this morning they turned in their fundraiser paperwork and penguin coupons.
After school today, Lolly came skipping up to the car sporting her new lanyard with two penguins, AS PROMISED! Babs, who is too young and inexperienced to have developed any cynicism, also was ecstatic to be the proud new owner of a lanyard and penguins.
Balance has been restored again and we have a renewed faith in the world. And another reminder that when you promise children something you really should follow through. Because some kids have a looooonnnnngggg memory.