Well, it’s official – it was pointed out last night that I am almost a “former” band parent. It’s one day until graduation, the last concert has been played, and soon a new Showband will begin practice for the upcoming season. As you so often hear at this time, it really did pass by quickly. One day I was walking into my first band parent meeting, and just a few notes later, we were snapping pictures of the “lasts”…last Parent Preview, last first time marching into the stadium, last first time wearing full uniform, last time marching out of the stadium, last concert….you get the idea.
I was asked if I would share some thoughts for incoming parents – maybe give you some tips or words of encouragement. I would start by saying always remember who this is about. This is your one opportunity to invest in this season in their life, and trust me it’s a short season. Here are a few more things:
Volunteer when and where you can. It takes a lot of work to make memories. You’ll often realize that making memories for the kids looks like picking up trash for the parents, or slinging Aggie Fries and chicken boats in the concession stands. You don’t have to do it all…but if everyone does a little, it will all get done.
Be patient and flexible. It takes a lot of moving parts to get a program this size from point A to point B. You will spend a lot of time waiting.
With that being said – be on time. Be early. This Freshman year, it will be amazing how many times your child can forget black socks, or leave their band shoes in the garage...trust me, it happens. Giving yourself some wiggle room helps in those moments.
Make friends with other parents. My son did not go to Ransom, so that first band parent meeting I felt like everyone knew everyone else. Don’t be afraid to talk to people. She probably doesn’t even remember it, but the very first person who spoke to me at that band parent meeting, was Cathy Norre. She sat right down beside me, struck up a conversation, and she will never know how I breathed a sigh of relief inside and appreciated that moment. Everyone is new at some point. Yes, this is going to be your child’s freshman year, but for some of you, this will be a new experience, too. If you do already know others, seek out an unfamiliar face and strike up a conversation. They just might need it.
Remember that everyone involved with the Band Boosters is volunteering. The person contacting you about your account is a volunteer. The person contacting you to see if you signed up to volunteer is a volunteer. A band parent just like you. Parents, who are doing their best to try to see the Showband successful in the details.
Sign up in Charms to get notifications. Sign up to get the text reminders. Information will go out in abundance, and it’s nice to be able to pull it up when you need to refresh your memory.
Above all else – just show up and support your child. Encourage them. Some of you are going to be new to the high school band world, and it is going to be amazing to you the amount of time and effort your child will be putting into this program. I can guarantee they are getting even more out of it than they are putting in. Appreciate their efforts. You might show up and see your child, and they might not see you. Some of them might even pretend not to see you…ha! Show up anyways. They notice.
Tomorrow, we will have a first and a last on the same day. I will be there as the band plays for the first time without my son. I won’t be looking towards the trumpet section to see his familiar face. He will walk in with his cap and gown to his friends playing “Pomp and Circumstance”, and for the last time he will be a high school Senior. To you parents who are just about to begin this journey – take it all in. Every. Single. Bit. Before too long you might be asked to try to sum up four years of growth, experiences, and memories to pass along – and like I find myself today – you might just look back and realize that there is no way to encompass all that your child has been a part of, and how blessed and thankful you were to cheer them on.
In case you read this and were wondering – I was never recognized as an outstanding volunteer, didn’t make it to every single band parent meeting, and wasn’t on the booster board. Sometimes I volunteered. Sometimes I just sat in the crowd. I was just a regular parent. A regular parent who showed up. A Showband of the South band parent. A chapter closes. A new one begins.