The phrase is now beyond cliché, but like most clichés, it can be so true. This past weekend, we called upon our own little village of friends and family to care for our boys while we played 4 gigs in 3 days.
First was Friday, at “The Kate” in Old Saybrook, CT, a good 2 ½ hours from NYC. That’s not counting the good span of time it took to pack up the ’99 Honda Odyssey with gear and four musicians, drive through afternoon traffic to another part of Brooklyn, pack up the car with more gear and another musician, and merge into northbound traffic. This all necessitated a planned departure at 1:30, though of course it was more like 2 pm when we left home.
Village member #1 was uncle Josh, who came to hang out with Van for an hour before delivering him to his brother Maceo and village members #2, #3, #4 & #5. These were the boys’ best buddies Orin and Walker and their parents Tara and Andy, who were graciously hosting a double sleepover. Friday morning had had an extra element of tension given that Van had been coughing and wheezing through the previous night. We spoke about how he was feeling throughout the day (he has no pre-school on Fridays) and he assured me he felt good – “See, I’m not coughing Mama! (attempted fake cough, attempted fake cough) See?” – and wanted to go through with the sleepover. Lord knows I wanted him to go through with it. Yes, our 3 year-old does sleepovers, even with a cold.
After we were finally on the road, I exchanged text messages with Tara and Josh about some delivery/school pick-up complications, and then sent a clipped apology to Tara for sending her a sick, if enthusiastic child. Sorry..
Mr. Crump and I got home from CT around 12:30 am (This post should be called “It Takes a Minivan Driver” – as very little of our present touring life would be possible without heroics behind the wheel from this man, in this case a mere 6+ hours behind the wheel to play for 70 minutes..) We were exhausted and slightly demoralized from the less-than-overflowing audience at the gig, though the knowledge that no coughing or morning enthusiasm would be awakening us at 3 or 4 or 7 am was a comfort. Yes to the double sleepover! Thank you Tara and Van for your game-ness!
Saturday was almost leisurely as we lingered at the pickup for the boys and then stopped by the community garden nearby to drop off some compost. I spent the rest of the afternoon making chicken soup for village members #6 & #7 Vicky and Paul, who arrived at 4 pm to have dinner with the boys and spend the night and the next afternoon. The band was off at 5, just 4 of us this time, for a house concert in New Jersey. Traffic was an issue again and we arrived later than planned again, but it was a much shorter trip and all was well. Just before the show via text message, I got the word that Maceo ate nutritious soup and Van ate Nutella on toast – par for the course.
We expected that Vicky and Paul might be awake when Mr. Crump and I returned again around midnight, but it seems the boys tired them out and the apartment was quiet. All slept in Sunday morning, with a still slightly wheezy Van coming into our bed before the dawn but then staying in bed long after his parents were up around 9. There was coffee, the New York Times, and pajama festivities before Heather, village member #8, arrived with her dog Ziggy, to accompany the boys and #6 & #7 to the park for some wiffle ball. Do I call Ziggy village member #9? I’m on the fence about that one, though he is enough of an entity to have helped entertain Van that day, and on another occasion, to have twitter-spammed me. (But that’s another story. Well not quite a story — I received a tweet from a dog and it was spam. The end.)
Soon after we wistfully watched the parade depart for the park on this sunny mild winter day, the car was packed up again, now at 11:45 am for another house concert a few miles away on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. More nice people, more good music, and another step in the development of the songs and chemistry of the band before we head in to make a record next week. Pictures came in of Maceo at bat, Van regarding the dog, and then smiles over ice cream as we packed up and headed back through the recently hurricane-flooded Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. There was a pit-stop for espresso, and then almost home, where Vicky and Paul were handing the boys off to village member #10, our neighbor and teenage babysitting superstar Nellie, who brought the boys over to her house for dinner with her parents Judy and James, village members #11 and #12. A mile or so away, we did another soundcheck, grabbed tacos nearby, and then played show #4 at ShapeShifter Lab. It was perhaps the best show of the weekend, and the closest to home and our then sleeping boys. Village members #1, 6 & 7 were in attendance, as they often have been over the years. Returning home just after 10 pm, the first financial transaction of the childcare weekend took place, as Nellie was compensated for her services.
Monday morning started at 6 am, as Van again came into bed with the last of his snorting and coughing, and soon after Maceo burst through the bedroom door fully dressed, eager to be on time for school. He was an hour early, just the opposite of what his parents had been throughout the weekend. The new week begins.
Join me in the making of my new album, Reckoning http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/jenchapin