Maybe some people start out thinking how much fun it’ll be to drive a minivan full of kids, or picture themselves cruising around in cool sunglasses behind the wheel of some other version of the family-friendly vehicle with the all-important Third Row (of seats), but I’m betting most just end up here.
It’s well into October, and we’ve finally got a semblance of routine for our work/school week. Soccer, dance, girl scouts, chorus, violin – every day except Tuesday, at least one of us has someplace to be after school. But I do still have to be at work every day, and GHB and LHB are regulars at Mrs T’s, the onsite afterschool program. So what makes it possible for us to be out there scoring goals and hip hopping and singing and scouting? That’s right: it’s CARPOOL.
I think of “carpool” as shorthand for the It Takes A Village Karma Bank. It’s kind of a collective model. (Does that mean it’s a credit union? Whatever. It’s a metaphor.) When life is humming along, there’s a shared schedule with friends whose kids are on the same team or in the same dance class or scout troop. We’ve got so many dance classes and engineered so much overlap with our Dance Place crew of friends, one of us moms mapped it on a spreadsheet so everyone only has to drive to or from there twice, even if, between them, your kids are in 4 or 5 different classes during the week.
It sounds crazy that we had to resort to Excel, but there are three sets of twins, cars have different seating capacities, and somehow it just got Really Complicated this year. LHB does Ballet, Tap, Lyrical, and Dance Team. GHB is only taking Hip Hop, but this class pushes the Wednesday carpool up to maximum capacity, even for the roomy B bus. Despite what seemed like a maelstrom of schedule changes and a bumpy start to the school year with way too many holidays in a short span of weeks, the dance drive karma bank is now fully operational, with regular deposits (giving rides) and withdrawals (your kids get rides), and plenty of happy customers.
Beyond our schedule — the “banker’s hours” — the beauty and the magic of Carpool is that it really is a Village of Minivans (OK, and also the hipper new “micro SUVs”), in ceaseless motion, and there to pick up the slack when I have a late meeting, or there’s an extra recital rehearsal. Life happens, kids get sick, and we cover for each other. My strategy is always to bank as many driving legs as I can, whenever I can, because there will always be a really rainy day, or week, or month, when I need to make some extra withdrawals. But I can sleep well at night knowing that even if my account gets overdrawn, this bank, like the mythic Village, will never stop payment. Rides, and karma, will keep making the rounds, from the Heights to the East, and back again.