We have found a new footing—making new traditions as great as possible. Staying up late eating popcorn instead of a football game. Drawing Daddy pictures and cards so he knows we are thinking of him always.
For our tribe, band kids always reign supreme—because if you can march backwards playing music and survive sight reading and summer camp, then, by George, we think you have a darn good shot at being amazing. Because you already are.
Football is the reason we’re brought together, to cheer on the game and its players, but it takes on life because of the surroundings—I am moved by the music, join in with the cheerleaders, become gracious in a win, remain respectful in a loss, join in the celebration of our school, and most of all, I also find imperfect people around me who are trying to grow a community.
You put the backpack straps on and there’s a little bar/swing where their feet go instead of where the “pack” would be on a backpack. It holds up to 50 pounds and allows him to jump on and off as needed rather than having to constantly take off and on. It saves me time and mental stress as we tote around stadiums—no more waiting for toddler speed, he loves getting the view from the top and it's super unique design makes us friends every place we use it!
My goodness the magic of this month. The seasons starting to (finally) shift, sweater weather creeping in and, since I’m from Texas, the temperature outside is finally below the temperature of my pumpkin spice latte. Bring on fall!
Oh, and it’s Bandtober.
This month, a blur of activity and chaos swirls about our household. There is a football game each weekend and then mere hours before or after, there’s also a band competition—an event that typically runs 12-18 hours long dependent on our advancement during the contest.
There used to be a time where I would relish in dusting off of my knee high boots and finding a new fall lipstick color… add a pumpkin or two to my dining table and smell the sweetness of nutmeg and savor the thought. But Bandtober makes “wife-ing” a full contact sport—packing at least 3-4 meals weekly to be eaten on the road or perched curbside, and don’t even get me started on what juggling the man-cub and household chores turn into.
All I gotta say is: Thank You Curbside Pick Up Inventor.
The result of our choatic ballet is becoming a part of what I consider to be one of Texas’ greatest traditions. Regardless of where you’re from, I think we can all agree, there is an undeniable magic to Friday Night Lights.
It wasn’t until recently that I came to know not all teams have a band. For me at least, when I walk into the stadium, there’s just this amazing moment each game when the crowd roars alongside the cheerleaders chant in harmony underneath the glare of the stadium lights—and right alongside those groups, is where I live. When you hear that snare drum or tuba bass line and you unconsciously start dancing, that’s what fills my tank for the rest of the week.
It’s during those moments when all of these groups come together that make this life so wonderfully worth it. It takes everyone—the cheerleaders, the choir, the announcers and coaches, the football team and trainers, and yes, that marching band, to make a stadium more than just another stop on my map. It makes it home.
When you hear that mix of all those voices and music and heartbeats, it’s all of those beautiful groups coming together that give my heart strings the tug I seek.
Bless the hundreds of students and staff that congregate together to make all of those memories come to life. Every one of them has a different part to play, but every one of them has their school spirit in their hearts, and that’s where we unite together in our hard work and grit.
But for me, this month at least, I’m blessed to hear that very last note of the very last marching show for the year.
When you’re standing on the sidelines with tears falling knowing they gave it their all—it also means, I did too.
This month is all about getting to follow around my favorite musicians and watching them use their blessings. I think we find that with all of the sports sideline wives support. You cry at wins, at losses, and the progress in between. They are my kids—you want nothing but the highest honor bestowed on them. There is a peace in all of this chaos. Peace that God placed me here without explanation, but with purpose. I’m merely a supporting role in His perfection, but what a ride it is.
This month, if I may request, add me and my musical wives to your list of prayers we are all sharing. We are doing double time in a world where every beat counts.
Move over PSL …. Happy Bandtober!
Despite the message being simple, it seems to be a constant reminder that if they just keep practicing, if they just continue to put the effort in, if they just focus on the game, it will all pay off.
Considering I was born in the afternoon, I guess today is my first full day of being 40. Yep, yesterday was that day where clearly I need to pack it in and get my shawl out, adopt 50 or so cats and knit something random. I’ve heard my entire life and into our marriage that my husband “has it easy,” because he can buy flowers for my birthday and they’ll last all the way through Valentines.
For the record, he’s very clear that isn’t the case…
But like most of you, Valentine’s Day, as well as anniversaries, birthdays (not just mine, but anyone, including his own), and most other holidays really fall victim to “what does the schedule say?”
For us, Valentines happens to fall at the same time every year as his yearly conference. Yep, right now I need to laugh and say it: my husband, a band director, is most likely sitting in a classroom learning how to score. Well, musical scores that is.
Therefore, we have to laugh it off and roll with the punches. Now don’t get me wrong. I love any holiday—Hallmark or otherwise—that prompts my husband to show his affections. But in between events, meetings, and all of his work in between, it’s really more about him “remembering I’m alive and putting in effort.”
I think sometimes it’s about being creative. One year he left me cards for each day he’d be gone, because our child was too small to even consider going amongst all the crowds. Other times, he calls and (thank goodness the miracle of technology) we have dinner “together” despite being miles apart (and get strange looks from passers-by). It’s these things that I take solace in, because while the “guys” might be snickering at his efforts, it’s clear to me that my husband puts our relationship first.
Other times we have to realize it’s about the celebration, even if the timing isn’t exactly accurate. So birthdays are postponed, anniversaries are jiggled around on the calendar, and we work with our families to make sure they understand that Thanksgiving = playoffs, not turkey.
For the most part, this works well, because it’s about making sure the moment doesn’t go unforgotten, even if it’s not celebrated on the day it should be.
Finally, what about us? I mean, who’s stopping us from taking Valentine’s Day by the horns and owning it? Bake him cookies, surprise him and stay up late with dinner or even early morning hours with breakfast if it means making something work. Valentine’s Day is an equal-opportunity holiday, how about make it a little easier and alternate who takes the lead each year?
So for the Spring sports sideline wives, I’m with you.
Tonight might have you sitting in the stands and the most you get is a wave and a wink.
For a few of us, a phone call might be the most we can muster by way of romance.
For others, we may be showered in flowers and fanciness and that’s okay too.
It’s so easy to feel like what happens today is indicative of how much you are loved. But let’s all remember something that is near and dear to us—the score ONLY counts at the end of the game, and today is not the end. Each day we have a chance to love and be loved, and no date on the calendar determines our worth.
In the meantime, I’m drinking my prune juice while knitting a heart-shaped sweater for my new cat Walter, as the first day of 40 was very tiring. Love, peace and trumpet valve grease, ladies – have a great Valentine’s Day!
The point is that sometimes what we need doesn’t always come in the package we thought we needed. Five years ago, my life didn’t have a husband, a child, much less this unique lifestyle. Today I cannot imagine life without them. I am so very grateful for where I am because of the absolute unexpectedness of who I’ve become because of it.
Thank you for understanding it takes time to get all this. The schedule, the time away from home, modifying our parenting, social lives, hopes and dreams and everything in between—there were many lessons and routines that weren’t easy to come by.
So, to the new wife who’s learning to cope, to the one trying to dye her socks pink, to the one bleaching her pink socks white, and to the new mom with a 6-day-old determining if she should go to the game … I’m right here with you. Reach out; make the connection; I’ll accept you just as you are, as God tells us to. No judgment, no make-up either – because girl, I ain’t got time for that.
Humans are icebergs and we never know what someone is going through, and today they took it out on our partner. It’s hard to not strike back, especially when it’s it front of our kids and they don’t quite understand adult misgivings. The best we can do is protect ourselves, realizing that we do not know what that person is going through in their own life.
Let me be clear – we are not better off or more saddled than any other organization out there – football, dance, everything in this realm has its own ups and downs. We all deserve the spotlight, and I’m hoping this brings some support to the band family I have come to love very much. Have your team sit through a performance, I challenge them to go to a competition even. Learning how to respect your comrades is just as important as respecting your competition – it’s sportsmanship at its finest.
The child wasn’t nestled all snug in his bed,
He was playing with toys, my patience hung by a thread,
Husband in his iPad, and I in my map,
“Which stadium, again, am I supposed to be at?”
There is no greater pride I feel when I see our band family take the field. For seven minutes, after hundreds of hours of work and sweat, I realize what all of the chaos in our household was meant for. Sure, there’s still a stain on my favorite sweater, I cannot seem to locate my son’s purple race car and cereal has replaced my real dinner. Watching my soulmate use his God-given talent along with hundreds of others beside him, makes my job worth it.