I miss being in high school. I do. Well, a part of it anyway. I miss twirling my baton during halftime at football games and marching in the parades. It’s been many years since I wore the silver sequins of my captain’s uniform, but I still have my baton and my twirler’s jacket. I even pull the baton out from time to time and give it a spin. I still marvel in the way it catches the light as I toss it in the air. I loved the sound of the crowd clapping and cheering as we marched on the field. I have those memories tucked away, but sometimes I need to bring them out and dust them off.
Now, I’m living vicariously through my son and next year I’ll add my daughter to the mix. He’s in the high school marching band. He plays in the drum line and Noodge 2 will join him in the color guard. The marching band just finished their competition season placing 2nd in the State Championship. Many students were disappointed in their placement. They lost by such a little margin. But it’s what the band director said in an email that got to me. I’m quoting him:
What’s most important…do not let the opinion of a few individuals change the feeling that you had when you marched off that field. Scores and placements come and go. Trophies eventually get thrown away or recycled, but that feeling…..the feeling that you get when you are out on that field…playing your horn….performing your work….playing your drum….DOIN’ YOUR DUB STEP…..That will remain with you long after your high school years are a thing of the past.
How right he is. It’s been so many years since high school and I still remember the feeling during my senior year when the marching band and the color guard danced during our performance and the crowd shot to their feet cheering and clapping for us. It was, at the time, the greatest moment of my life. No one had ever clapped for me like that before. I was a part of something far bigger than myself. I loved it.
I envy my son in so many ways. He’s at the start of his life where all things are still possible. He’s making the memories he will dust off when he’s my age. He’ll look back on a simpler time in his life and smile. He is lucky to be a part of something much bigger than he is and excel at it. Second place isn’t chump change.
I love being able to watch him be a part of the marching band. I also love my girl will twirl a flag next year. How lucky I am to be a part of their magical moments. To watch them perform, be able to hold their heads up proud to be a part of this band. To know, they are good at something. To make friends that may last a lifetime. Someone to share the old memories with some day. “Remember when,” they’ll say and laugh.
It’s sad when you realize a stage of your child’s life has ended and they’re onto something else. No more Thomas the Tank Engine trains, no more American Girl dolls. Soon, high school will be over and no more marching band for me to watch and cheer for. My Noodges will be all grown up and onto something else that most likely won’t involve me.
In the meantime, I’ll be at the football games and the competitions. I wear the school colors with pride. I’m supporting my marcher. And when it’s all over and the uniform is hung up, I’ll sneak into the closet, pull out my baton and give it a twirl.