Life with kids

Drum Corp Mom

Drum Corp Mom

Marybet Hudson

Dedicated to my two favorite drum corp kids.

I am a Drum Corp Mom

A quick hug and kiss goodbye, and you are off again, never staying home for more than a day or two.

I search endlessly for pictures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, just to see your face for a moment, to know you are happy, or worry that you are not.

I wake up in the middle of the night, just to check scores from competitions on the other side of the country.

I am a Drum Corp Mom

When people ask about you, I have to start with, “Do you know about Drum Corp?”

If they know drum corp, they understand.

If they don’t, they’ll never understand.

But I don’t think anyone really understands, except for other Drum Corp moms.

I am a Drum Corp Mom.

I am happy if I get a quick hug in the lot as you warm up.

I sit in the stands wearing your show shirt — when what I really want to wear is a giant poster that says, “That’s my kid down there!”

I want everyone to see my love and pride for all that you are doing.

I sit in the stands to watch you practice, smiling at your talent and dedication.

Then you walk off the field, only to do it all again tomorrow, in a different city, in a different state.

I am a Drum Corp Mom.

I am continually amazed that 150 people can work together to make something so amazing.

As the brass belts out the enormous sounds

As the rifles fly to impossible heights, just to drop perfectly into waiting hands

As the drummers hit the beats and the mallets fly so fast I can’t see them

I cry tears of joy and pride at all you have done.

Then I watch the young fans come to you, asking for selfies and autographs.

You are kind and generous with these young strangers, always taking time to talk with them and encourage them.

I am a Drum Corp Mom

I know about the hours spent alone, practicing over and over

Hours you could have spent with friends,

or watching TV

or just sleeping.

It is these hours spent alone that make you.

I know that this is your bliss.

I am so proud of you.

I will always be a Drum Corp Mom.

Reading Life · Slice of Life

4 Hours, 41 Minutes — Slice of Life Tuesday

4 hours and 41 minutes.

That is what my Kindle is telling me it will take me to finish my current library book, Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie.  I have 3 days and 8 hours before my loan ends and the title disappears from my Kindle library. How can 3 weeks go by so fast?

At the beginning of the summer, I thought I had a great plan for reading all of the books on my growing list. I simply put library holds on the books I wanted to read, using the Overdrive app linked to my local library, knowing that most of them had impossibly long lists of people ahead of me. If you have never tried the Overdrive app, it is simply amazing. You can link it to any library you choose. You can request e-books or audio books, and if the book is available you can start reading it as fast as it takes you to download. If the book has a wait list, an email will alert you to the book being checked out to you and ready for download. You can get Kindle format, or read on your device in EPUB or PDF formats (depends on the book). My school district has even partnered with our local library to provide ebooks to all students through Overdrive and their school id. And the best part — at the end of the loan period, the book just disappears — no late fees or last minute drives to the library to beat the clock. But as with all library books, if there is a wait list, you can’t renew the titles — you have to get back in line to borrow it again.

My plan was that my books would naturally pace themselves due to the long wait times. I was 30-90 people back from the top of the list for the most popular books I wanted — The Handmaid’s Tale, and Big Little Lies for example — the books I want to read before watching the shows (and probably everyone else in my area had the same idea).

At first, this plan worked well. For my first month of summer break, I would have one book to read and one on deck to read next. I even managed to read a paper book that had been collecting dust on my shelf. But then my holds caught up with me. I was getting 2-3 books a week checked out to me. I’m a fast reader, and I can usually cover 2-3 books during a summer week, but this book abundance coincided with a week’s vacation with limited reading time (I managed to read only 2 books, Camino Island by John Grisham and Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, primarily on our cross-country plane flights).

One year I assigned students the goal of reading and writing about a book a week. There were many days when I counseled students to make a plan to meet this goal — determine how many pages did they have to read each day to complete the book they chose, look at the rest of their commitments/assignments and determine how they would get this assignment completed. So now, I will counsel myself. For the next 3 days, I have to read at least 2 hours each day in order to finish this book before it disappears. I have to work this around other commitments, including a live-stream Drum Corp International event from Oklahoma tonight in which my 21 year-old son will be performing, getting my 18 year-old son through his college check-off list, my daily exercise and music goals, and basic household responsibilities.

I guess I need to go read…                             .225x225bb


Mount Rainier

Last week I tried to describe Mount Rainier to a friend based on facts that I knew. My husband’s family has lived in the Seattle area for decades. They have told me about the mountain, and I’ve seen pictures. But I had never been to Seattle myself, so I had never actually seen it. I had heard that it was large, but I’ve been to the Alps, the Tetons, and the Rocky Mountains–I’ve seen tall mountains. In the back of my head, I really thought everyone was exaggerating just a little bit. I was sure it was big, and beautiful–but so are lots of other mountains.

Mount Rainier is so much more massive than anything I have seen. At 14,409 feet, it is the most prominent peak in the lower 48 states. I could see it from just about everywhere I went. It wasn’t like in North Carolina where you can see the distant mountains as blue bumps on the horizon. I could see the snow topped cone of the dormant volcano from 100 miles away, looming over the horizon.

We spent a day in the Mt. Rainier National Park. We threw snowballs in July–well, I threw snowballs–and we hiked a few miles into a mountain meadow area about a third of the way up the mountain. The heavy snows from last winter were still covering many parts of the paved trails. We took picture after picture because the beauty of the area is beyond words.

Being able to learn from books and videos is wonderful. The internet can take you to places you can’t access and can connect us to the world. But it doesn’t compare to getting out in the world and experiencing it for yourself. You have to just jump in.


Just Jump In

The high diving board stood an impossible 10 feet above the pool. All summer I would watch friends line up to climb the ladder, then launch themselves into the air. Some would turn flips, entering the water gracefully with barely a splash. The boys would compete to see who could create the biggest splash. Cannon balls and jackknife dives were the tools they used as they attempted to empty the pool of its water each summer day.

All summer, I would watch from the safety of the shallow end of the pool. “It looks like so much fun,” I would think to myself, as I imagined the amazing flips and twists I would execute from that board. In my daydreams, I would break the surface of the water to the sounds of amazed applause. “How did you do that?” My friends would surround me and beg me to teach them my tricks.

Daydreams explode like the soap bubbles of our childhood without action behind them. Everyday as I gingerly sat on the blistering vinyl car seat leaving the pool, my soap bubble dreams popped.

Finally, I had enough of my daydreams. It was time for action. I was going to jump off of that board.

As I stood in the line, my confidence began to fade, as the doubts and fears tried to take over again. I watched friend after friend make the climb, dash to the end of the board, and fly into the air, landing with a happy splash. Then it was my turn.

Hand over hand, I climbed the ladder. Standing on the board so far above the pool deck, I could barely breath.

“Come on! Just jump in!”

My friends were becoming impatient for their turns as I stood there, frozen.

I inched my way to the end of the board until my toes were hanging off the edge. I looked down one last time, into the deep blue of the pool. I closed my eyes, and stepped off.