Teams usually know their game times for hockey tournaments, like other sports, for the first few games. Then the winners and losers of those games have to face each other which means it's a "wait and see" situation before going onto the next level. Eventually it turns into a "play in the championship game or go home" situation. This year, during the weekend of the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo, I hosted our annual neighborhood Cinco de Mayo party and my son was in a hockey tournament that consisted of 5 games and a possible championship game. A recap of the weekend went as follows: Game #1 /Screw up #1 - I messed up by not checking my son's bag to make sure he had everything. We didn't have his gray hockey socks so I got a text from coach not to forget them for the next game. We won the game. We also won Game #2. For Game #3/Screw up #2 - I mixed up the time we needed to leave for the rink with the time we needed to be at the rink. Suddenly standing in line at Costco with chips and salsa for the parent tailgate party went from being a thoughtful pinch to the DUMBEST idea I had all year. We were a half an hour late for warm ups. We lost Game #3. The game time for Game #4 - the second game that day - changed from 630p to 830p. The rink was 40 minutes away and coach always requires the players to be at the rink one hour ahead of game time. The 830p start time meant that I would miss the entire Cinco de Mayo party which started at 630p. This was a dilemma because it wasn't only a neighborhood Cinco de Mayo celebration, it was also the hub's birthday party and we had about 60+ people that we were hosting. Our team got the announcement about the change to the 830p game time in a GroupMe text. Less than one minute after we received the new information, I got a private GroupMe text from my good friend Mary Jane. She offered to pick up my son (which is not on her way at all) to bring him to the game with her son. I was still in shock - I couldn't even accept Mary Jane's offer right away. I needed to make a choice. Should I miss my son's game or my hub's birthday? I sat still in my bathroom while people showed up for the party - I was waiting for a sign as to what I should do. I know I sound like a total drama queen but I didn't want to make Screw up #3. I felt like I had so much vested in making sure my son had what he needed to have a successful tournament that I should be there till the very end. Eventually, I called Mary Jane and took her up on her offer to bring my son home when the game was finished. Mary Jane is more than a saint. The players got off the ice at 1015p and she drove out of her way to bring my son home. The next hockey game was at 8 am the next morning. No screw ups for that game but we lost miserably to a team from Canada. I was so grateful for the generosity and thoughtfulness of Mary Jane. I can't even think of a way to return the favor. It wasn't so much the act of what she did, it was the thought to reach out so quickly to let me know that she was there for me. She immediately knew the position I was in and she held out her hand to help me. It's what village people do.
Another example of village people doing village things is when my daughter and I arrived downtown without everything she needed to dress for ballet class. For me to drive home to get the forgotten ballet bag and back would be an hour's drive time at best. My daughter was disappointed because they would be learning the dance that they would perform for their dance recital which was only a couple of weeks away. Within seconds of getting up to the dressing room, she had ballet friends who pieced together a ballet outfit that she could use for the day. Sophie loaned her a pair of ballet shoes and a leotard, Aden lent her a pair of tights and Camille let her have bobby pins and a hairnet for her bun. My daughter had a huge smile on her face and I was so relieved that I wanted to kiss each ballet friend to death. What impressed me the most was that no one hesitated one bit to help my daughter. The gesture to help a fellow dancer came from the dancers all on their own, their parents were informed after the fact. This was one occasion that my daughter was more than happy to write thank you notes for because she appreciated these girls sharing their extra items so that she didn't have to miss a beat.
Usually parents of kids figure out quickly that carpooling is KEY to staying sane and saving a ton of headache and money. Transporting our kids from activity to activity is an art and a science. But the secret of a successful carpool starts with the village of people you keep close. You may have capable, reliable parents to share your torture - I mean, responsibilities but the good carpools are the ones who know that at some point, everything balances out. It's not about tit for tat. I cannot tell you how many times my ballet carpool moms have been there for me and took care of my daughter. It's a relief and a gift. My thoughtful pinch for my village is to stock pile rides as much as I can. If I'm available, I offer rides to loosen the load of other moms because I know we all need a break sometimes. Without even trying, it all comes around.
These "Village People" examples may not be ones that you relate to but I would like to think everyone has a village. I hope that no one is doing everything all on their own. My wish is for everyone to have support, love, understanding, security and compassion from friends and family. It's not easy to be prepared with all the necessary items for each activity or to Uber little ones around during their pre-driving years - it really does take a village.