Lacrosse has started and with it a whole new schedule to learn. Lucas' schedule is a bit, ummmm....loose, shall we say? It starts at 5:30 but the end time is classified as "dark"... That makes for whole lot of leeway in what time to pick your child up from practice. For me, I thought the perfect time to pick up from practice was 6:45. I couldn't have been more wrong about the schedule last night.
When I arrived, the parking lot was empty and Lucas was one of only four boys left on the practice field. I was mortified. I hate the thought of the kids wondering where the heck I am. Lucas is the least concerned of the three but it eats at me because of what happened years ago.
When Zach first started playing lacrosse he played for a travel league that was about a half an hour drive from our house. At the time Lucas and Claire were also practicing for summer swim league out at our pool which was about half an hour from Zach's lacrosse practice. It was one week while Stan was gone for business and I had the responsibility of getting Zach out to his practice, running Lucas and Claire to swim, waiting for them to finish and then heading back out to the lacrosse fields to get Zach. For some reason, I don't remember why, I was running so, so, so late to get back to Zach. I didn't have the cell phone numbers for the coaches and Zach didn't have his cell phone on him. I didn't have the phone numbers of any of the other parents. I couldn't call anyone to let them know I'd be late. My nerves were jangled. I hate being late. I hate having to apologize for not being somewhere on time. I came screaming into the parking lot on two wheels and was greeted with an empty lot. Not a car in sight. Not one. Zach is there all alone.
Every single parent and coach left. No one stayed behind to make sure that Zach was taken care of. No one offered to let him use their phone to call me and see where the heck I was. In the end it was my responsibility to get there on time but...did the coaches have a responsibility as well? It's a fine line but I think there should have been some oversight; at least a phone call made to me, not just leaving my kid in an empty school yard with no way to call. What if I had been in an accident? Stan was out of town and there would have been no one to get Zach. I made sure to talk to the head coach the next day and he was so very apologetic. He said he didn't see that Zach was still there. I let him know I was not happy with the how the situation was handled and he assured me something like that would never happen again. And it didn't. I made sure Zach always had his cell phone, I got the numbers of other parents and I made sure I was on time picking him up.
Last night was reminiscent of that night years ago, except for one small detail. I stayed. I was not going to let one kid get left behind. I was not going to let one kid feel like Zach felt when everyone left and he was alone. I took the lesson I learned years ago to heart.
Two of the boys got picked up within 10 minutes of me arriving. The third and final boy was nervous and anxious. He didn't have a cell phone so I let him use mine but he couldn't remember his dad's number. My heart went out to him as he stood with Lucas waiting, for what must have seemed like an eternity to him, for his dad to come and pick him up. Around 7:15 I see a car pull into the lot and Lucas' team mate picked up his gear. As soon as I saw him head to his car, Lucas and I pulled away and headed home. I am not telling you any of this for accolades or pats on the back. I am telling you this because I felt it was my responsibility, as a mama, to make sure those boys were safe.
Responsibility is for the love of all of our children...