We became parents this year—marching band parents. For the next three months, John and I, along with our high school senior, will live, eat, sleep and breathe marching band.
The kids have been practicing at least once a week since the end of June, and since the first of August, they’ve ramped way up with practices Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon; almost the equivalent of a full time job.
I got my first taste of life as a band parent last week when I signed up to help with uniform fittings (170 kids, but who’s counting?) Having chosen pants, I spent most of the day on the floor, wrestling with snaps, pinning leg hems, adjusting straps, and calming the girls who were concerned about their size.
Toward the end of the day when the only sizes left were gigantic and humongous (44 to 50), it took three of us to calm an 80-pound girl who (understandably) was upset at having to accept a size 44 pant. Literally, she would have easily fit into one pant leg with room to spare, poor thing.
Tonight there was a show and tell for the parents out on the field where they live practice. The band director introduced his staff, explained this year’s theme (Out of this World) and had the kids show us the first two sets of one of the three compositions they’ll be playing this year. I was awestruck.
Then he told everyone to find their student, hold their instrument and get ready to run the first two sets with the students guiding.
After about five minutes, that 15-pound snare felt more like 150. The kids often move about on tiptoe—easier to pivot and change direction, especially when doing the crab step. I commend the band director for his walk-in-their-shoes exercise. He truly does understand how difficult all this is and wanted us to understand it as well.
Even though this will be both our first and last year in marching band, I know we will enjoy it immensely.