Among other activities, during all four years of high school, I was in the marching band color guard. In other terms, I twirled a flag.
Our marching band was nearly 300-members strong, which for all you non-band nerds, is a pretty damned big band. We had a reputation in our region for being one of the major bands to beat at local competitions. Our football team was also a regional powerhouse, and our stands – at both home and away games – were usually packed.
More to the point of this post, my mother was present for almost all of our home games, and she usually made it to the away games that were less than an hour’s drive away. She came to all of our competitions, parades, and other performances.
I remember stepping out onto the field at halftime, the bright stadium lights making sparkling gems of the sequins of my uniform.
(I said, shut up.)
The thrum of the drum line’s cadence resonated through me, and as the drum major counted off, the blast of the brass line ignited the first notes of the opener. Hours of practice made the routines natural; I didn’t have to think about which move came next or where I was supposed to be on the field. The moves were as reflexive as breathing, and I was the music. It was all I could hear in and around me.
“THAAAAAAAAAAAAAT’S MYYYYYYYYYYY BAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
I’d hear this ear-deafening shout over snap of the ten snares. Over the 40-member high brass line. Over the roar and applause of the crowd. It came from all the way the hell over there, right from where I knew my mother was sitting up in the bleachers along the 45 yard line.
I had that typical teenager reaction of being partially incredibly glad that my mom was there to cheer me on, and also half-wishing that she was just a little less publicly spazzy. Because, my cheezitz, woman – don’t you know there are people looking at you like the hem of your skirt is tucked into your straightjacket?
Jordan (age 8 ) was diagnosed with having asthma last winter. We’re still learning how to work around it and treat it so that it doesn’t keep him from participating in the activities he enjoys. Two Saturdays ago, he had his first soccer game of the season. After he was on the field for about 15 minutes, I noticed that he seemed to be struggling a bit to breathe.
“Do you think he needs to get out and rest for a while?” I asked Frank.
“No, he’s fine.”
“Are you sure?” I pressed as I adjusted the zoom on the camera. The better to see the heaving of Jordan’s chest, my gangstas.
“Kym, he’s fi-…”
“JO-JO! JORDAN! JOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRDAN! ARE YOU OKAY?! CAN YOU BREATHE? DO YOU NEED YOUR INHALER!?”
He side-eyed me and gave a surreptitious head shake as if to say, I’mfinepleasesityourassdownandstopembarrassingmethankyouverymuch.
Kyra cheers for Jaiden’s football team, and they had two quick 30-minute jamboree games this past Saturday. I had to teach Saturday Academy, so I missed the first half of their first game. Later the twins (age 10) told me that they knew exactly when I had arrived.
“All I could hear was some crazy person shouting ‘THAAAAAAAAAAAT’S MYYYY BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYBEEEEEE!,’ ” Jaiden said. “I heard you from the other side of the field and even through my helmet and padding, Mom. Dang.”
“I know, right?,” Kyra said. “I heard you before I saw you, Mom.”
I get it, now. This is what she meant by “Just you wait until YOU have kids.”
At least part of it; I still have to combat puberty (The Minions’ not mine).