Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Carpool Coordinator

One of my kids made the high school freshman cheer team. This is a new sport for our family and so we are jumping right in.

One of the team moms asked me to coordinate the carpools. No big deal, right? I have long since mastered the art of the spreadsheet. As it turns out, this is what was involved:

1. Encourage all cheer team families to register with the school district to be volunteers. This means they have to fill out an online form and provide their driving record and insurance information to get official clearance. Track.

2. Send out a survey to find out which parents can drive to offsite cheer camp prior to school starting. Also find out which parents can drive to offsite cheer practices the two weeks prior to school starting. And then find out which parents can drive to the offsite cheer practices and away games from August to December. Don't forget about the number of seats they have free in their cars for those three scenarios, which varies by day and the activities of their other children, if they have other children. Find out what snacks their daughters will eat because drivers are responsible for feeding the kids a healthy snack, too.

3. Photocopy all the permission slips.

4. Create a cute sign for each driver's car so the cheerleaders can recognize them in the carpool pickup line.

5. Package the above two items in a pretty, transparent folder, as a Cheer Mom should.

6. Create a six-tab, color coded, shared Google Sheet with all the carpools. The carpools have to be predetermined because the school needs to know who is in which car at all times. And the carpools have to be randomly generated to discourage cliques from forming.

7. Send carpool schedule out for review and ask people to notify me ONLY if (a) I inadvertently left their daughter off a day or (b) I did not honor their request for scheduling as noted in the survey. See step 2.

8. Talk people through downloading and installing the Sheets app on their phones.

9. Grow thicker skin while fielding a surprising number of calls from parents who are unhappy with the amount of driving they have to do relative to other families.

10. Send link to schedule to freshman cheer coach, head cheer coach and high school volunteer coordinator.

11. After a few weeks of carpooling, figure out how to handle the driver who (a) texts and drives and (b) speeds. Be thankful that the cheerleaders spoke up and that no one has been injured.

12. Adjust carpools and assign additional drivers when one of our sweet cheerleaders and her family move across country midway through the season.

13. Hope I still have friends after this to sit with at the games.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Into the Wild

RBF has nothing on me. I've come up with a new acronym: CMF. Crying Mother Face.

Admit it: quite a few of you are rocking this look lately. It's what we wear after we drop our children at college. I put on an Academy-Award-worthy performance of bravery when actually in the presence of my child. It was after I left her dorm room that I completely lost it. I cried so hard that my throat ached and I had to gasp for air. I walked away from my husband, not because I didn't want him to see me cry, but because I didn't have enough Kleenex to share in case he melted down, too.

When I stopped crying, I realized that our younger two children will need to go to one of the colleges within an hour's drive of our home. There is no way I can do that again.

The thing is, Eldest Daughter is happy. She got into her first choice school. Her roommate is super sweet and they seem well-suited for each other. Except for Fridays, her classes don't start until 11am. She hit the jackpot on the dorm; she's in a 1930s building which was renovated a year ago and which is connected to the student union. This means that during the most miserable of Michigan blizzards she can wear flip flops to get Panda Express and a grande quad nonfat one pump no whip mocha. This weekend she went to some fraternity parties and a football game at The Big House. This is what we hope for.

Classes start tomorrow. I wonder if she will shoot a selfie on the way out the door just because it's tradition.