November 2015:My son stepped onto the field to perform his final half time show with his high school marching band. He was a senior and he was getting ready to graduate. The theme of last year’s marching band field show was, “Completing the Circle”. Prior to the performance the seniors and their parents were called to the field for recognition. I realized my son had completed the circle when I recognized the voice of the person calling out names to be my son’s fifth grade band teacher, the man who taught him how to play his trombone.
My son joined the high school marching band as a freshman. He was still weeks away from his 14th birthday, wide eyed and serious but managed to crack a smile from behind his mouthpiece when we’d call his name from the stands to embarrass him.
His existence in marching band had me at hello the minute I saw him march into the stadium in uniform for the first time as a freshman. It continued through every parade, football game and competition until the moment I saw him march out of the stadium at the final football game as a senior. The ending was bittersweet.
New Year’s Eve 2016: My husband and I were with friends. Our son was at a party and our daughter was staying at her friend’s house. The ball had just fallen and the four of us were wishing each other New Year’s greetings in our family group text message.
My daughter’s text message read, “He’s going to college and I’m going to march”. My daughter has also been a band child since fifth grade. She plays trumpet. As she has stood on the sidelines watching our son, my husband and I have watched her become one with her trumpet, practice her heart out and achieve her own music success. She will begin high this fall and follow in our son’s footsteps of music excellence but she will not walk in his shadow.
The final football game last fall was not only my son’s bittersweet ending, it was my daughter’s new beginning. The middle school 8th graders were invited to play pep band songs with the marching band that night. My daughter jumped at the opportunity and immediately bonded with the trumpet section.
My house is clean, my laundry is done and my refrigerator is full. Tomorrow begins a new season of marching band. It’s four and a half months of eating on the run, extremely busy weekends, evening rehearsals, extreme heat, wind, cold, rain, fundraisers out the wazoo and a disastrous house. We as band parents have no idea what the season will bring, we just make sure our lives march in sync with the band. I’m ready.
Tomorrow morning my son will drive to high school band camp once again. This time it’s to watch his little sister take the field with her trumpet for the first time as a member of the high school marching band. It’s her turn to shine and I look forward to seeing this through her eyes.
One thing is certain. In six weeks my daughter will march into the stadium for the first time. Her navy blue uniform with gold trim and a white sash will illuminate her ice blue eyes. She too will have me at hello.