The Madness That is March

What do you get when snow continues to fall in March and winter and spring sports collide?  March Madness.

Today was the start of the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament, also known as March Madness — a two-week battle wherein 64 of the nation’s top Division I men’s basketball teams compete for the title.  It was also the first day of spring.  What do these two events have in common?  They are both filled with anticipation and hope.

My hope is that I survive this month because so far March hasn’t been my favorite.

Yes, March has its good points … St. Patrick’s Day (although, I kinda blew that one this year — read my last blog post to find out how), Daylight Savings (spring ahead to longer days), a few early signs of spring (the crocuses were budding until it snowed again!) and a bevy of birthdays for some of my favorite people.  But it also has a bad side … the side that has to contend with bi-polar weather conditions and conflicting schedules.

I’m a planner and an organizer.  To manage our family schedule, I use a color-coded calendar — both an electronic version found on all iPads and iPhones, plus a written version on a dry erase board in the kitchen.  Overkill perhaps, but it keeps everyone accountable.  If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening.  The trouble with March is, the combination of unpredictable weather and the unknown outcome of tournament games means schedules are constantly in flux.  I don’t do well in flux.  I’m trying, but I’m not there yet.

Will it rain?  Will it snow?  Will practice be canceled or moved inside to a new location at a new time?  The answers to these questions can mean a complete upheaval to the day’s plans.  Did we win?  Did we lose?  Did we tie?  These outcomes can alter the week’s plans — a win means one thing (in terms of next game date, time and location), a loss another.  Then there’s the three-week discord when winter sports coincide with spring sports.  Practices conflict and games overlap.  Kids need to be in different places at the same time.  Anxiety grows and stress levels rise.  This is real March madness … at least in our house.

Enter the carpool.  They say it takes a village, but I say it takes a carpool.

Carpooling Kids

Once kids reach a certain age, if they are involved in any after-school activities, carpools become a necessity.  For those of us with more than one child, it’s inevitable that someone will need to be in one place while another has to be in a totally different place at the same time.  This is especially true for me during the month of March when our schedule is the most hectic.  The realist in me knows that I should ask for help.  The perfectionist wants to do it alone.  But I’m a recovering perfectionist now … so now I carpool.

With the carpool driving schedule in hand, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Winter basketball wraps up this week (which means less activities to manage) and the weekend forecast looks dry (so practices and games should proceed as planned).  Only ten more days before we can turn the page on the calendar.

If I can just get through the next week and a half, we can slide into April and begin a new routine … until those April showers come and wreak havoc on our schedule again!

– LJDT

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