My daughter is a 6th grader in beginning band. Last night, her district put on a band showcase. She saw the poster in the band hall a few weeks ago, snapped a pic, and texted it to me asking if we could go. Sure, I said. Why not?
Yesterday the event was upon us, and I realized I knew almost nothing about what to expect. This made me feel anxious, so I started sprinkling her with questions to see if she knew anything more about it from her band directors or friends. She did not. So, we went on an adventure not knowing what we were about to experience.
Upon arrival, I realized from the JAM PACKED parking lots and THRONGS of people that this showcase was a gathering of the district’s three high school marching bands and their color guards to practice their competition shows.
We paid our entrance fee (band fundraiser ✅) and found seats on the unforgiving metal bleachers. Aerosmith and Queen blasted through the entire stadium while I tried with all my might not to be too embarrassing. But I tell ya, wearing a mask came in real handy when Jump Around by House of Pain came on.
The sun set, casting its unmistakable magic hour glow. Monarch butterflies floated by on the blessedly cool early fall breeze. Then, the show started.
Instantly, I was flooded with a thousand memories and feelings. My daughter was beside herself with joy, bitten by the band bug. She looked at me, eyes aglisten, nervously laughed, and said, “Why am I crying? What is wrong with me?!”
I understand now how parents get so wrapped up and involved in their kids’ things. It’s because it was important to you, too, in your youth, or it became important to you through your child’s childhood. When they love what you love, something special exists between you that wasn’t there before. I also now understand the pain that could come if she decided one day to give it up and how heartbreaking that would be for me.
Last night, a budding clarinetist and one from years gone by experienced the enchantment of the field, the lights, the music, the camaraderie, the hard work paying off. Tears filled both of our eyes with the jubilation of it all. I hope with all my cells that she continues to love it so I can continue to love it alongside her.