Sunset on a Long Band Run

10 years goes by ever so much faster than one can ever imagine. Our oldest started playing an instrument in fourth grade. Then the next, and the next, and finally our youngest then began.

We’ve listened to the worst playing one can barely handle. A trumpet, a saxophone, a clarinet, a french horn, a keyboard, and percussion practice pads. We’ve also watched flag and rifle practicing cringing when they came down close to heads and toes.

It went from wondering if we’d live through the cacophony of squeaks, to watching them become top musicians in the state, and state champion and top national finalists band members.

There have been too many concerts and performances to count. They’ve performed in school cafeterias, middle and high school gyms, high school theaters, parking lots, high school football fields, national football stadiums, and world class concerts halls. Our behinds have been on the grass, hard metal chairs, bleachers, and nicely cushioned seats with backs. Regardless of the venue, the two of us have been to all but one of them, and almost all of them together. My husband and I were together for the very first performance in the SY Jackson school cafeteria. We’ll be together for the very last performance on Saturday at the 2021 National Championship in Lucas Oil Stadium.

Throughout the years, the weather was both our friend and our foe. Sometimes it was so hot one could fry an egg on the pavement, so windy it was kite weather, umbrellas have been used for rain and sun, the snow flurries, and cold where the only thing showing was a nose.

Even though there were times when it took all the muster possible to go to one more practice, one more lesson, one more contest, or volunteer one more time, there isn’t anything I would want to have changed.

This evening, as we watched the last run through in which we were kid-invested, a memory came to mind.

When I first got into education, the school where I did my student teaching was having a concert. As I watched the concert, I looked around at the parents in attendance. One could just feel the love and pride in their performing children. I had always wanted to have children, and in that moment I also knew I wanted to feel what those parents were feeling in the moment.

Thanks to my children, I’ve been able to feel that way many times over. The feeling makes all the work parents put into supporting their children worth it, even when their children are a bit unappreciative of the sacrifices parents have made for them.

This feeling was quite intense at our last show run through ever tonight at the high school. It was like deja vu from the very first performance I watched of my oldest. There were a few tears of joy then, and mixed tears of joy and sadness today for the end of this era in our family.

I’m very proud of my children’s musical and band performance accomplishments. Thank you for the memories that will last a lifetime for me, and hopefully for you as well.

Love you all!

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