Last Sunday was our fourth 4th of July parade as marching band parents.
As high school parents.
And our last with Mindy marching in the parade.
I can't quite wrap my mind around what it will be like without her.
I've determined that I'm going to soak up every single second of this year.
And, even though I might have teared up a teensy bit just once, no one noticed.
If they did, they might have thought it was sweat dripping off my face.
At least the heat and humidity came in handy for something.
This year, the parade was in the heat of the day, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The kids might have liked to trade the sun and the heat for one of the past years' rainy days...they were sopping wet when it was all over anyway.
Mickey was invited to be a banner carrier. As hot as it was, he didn't complain once! Truth be told, he was pretty happy to be part of the action. Maybe not so happy about the camera once again attached to his mother's face.
Abby made the rifle line this year. I was so proud of her. I was also relieved they were only throwing triples. She's already had one black eye this year. But, then, even seasoned pros have incurred an injury here and there...a tooth knocked out, a busted scalp, a broken foot. My girl is throwing 'fives' in the backyard. I'm joyous, I tell you. And more than a little impressed. Anyway, the rifles performed a beautiful routine to this year's parade tune, Sweet Caroline...you'll never guess who thought they were playing it just for her. She might have heard that tune a couple of times before. And I'm gratuitously using this photo again. Because I failed to get a shot of Caroline watching the band perform. And because I think it's completely hilarious.
And there's Mindy with her tenors. That girl is tough. Second, maybe, to the sousaphone (a marching tuba), those tenors weigh a good 40 pounds. The timbales she will also march with this fall weigh even more. I'll tell you, though, she wouldn't have it any other way. Although she marched tenors for last year's parade, she's waited a long time for her spot on the tenor line. She's worked hard for it. And she's the only girl in the battery.
She'll tell you she kind of likes it that way. Boys come with less drama. And she somehow tolerates all that comes with hanging out with a bunch of boys...I won't go into detail...or mention smelly t-shirts and shoes or occasional off-color humor. She'll set them straight when absolutely necessary, and they'll muster up some manners. Really, they're a harmless bunch. Easy-going, fun to be around, largely messy, and easily bribed with chocolate chip cookies. They accept her, and she accepts them.
Then there's the fact that Mindy's percussion instructor once told her she was one of the most aggressive, intense women he'd ever met. I'm fairly certain the drums absorb a little of that aggression and intensity. Dear drums. I'm so sorry.
I have a lot of years of marching band ahead of me. Abby has two more years after this. Mickey's already talking up his own spot on the drumline, and Caroline truly thinks she's part of the band and guard. After all, she has her own flag and drumsticks. But these four years with Mindy have been some of my favorite...and sometimes most difficult...years of parenting. It's been hard to see her struggle through learning to hold her own in a male-dominated environment. Or to watch her tough out two years of ankle injuries. Loooooong competition days. Rainy, cold rehearsals.
The best part, though, has been seeing my oldest daughter continue to grow into the confident young woman she is. And the way she's left behind the freshman who was too cool to acknowledge her parents for the senior who begs her mom to chaperone the band trips. Then there's the late-night rides home from the high school, getting the scoop on the day's events, grabbing Taco Bell and cokes and then winding down with the Gilmore Girls. Being there when she marched in the Fiesta Bowl parade. The thrill of an upset win at state. It's been sweet...it really has.
So here we are, with one season left. It will be over in the proverbial blink of an eye. I don't want to be melodramatic, really. That would totally irritate my daughter. And she would definitely mock me. In an intensely aggressive way. See above. But I do want to make sure that I savor it all...no blinking. Because time marches on like a big brass band. With a really loud drumline.
This is my first Sunday Snapshot link-up, although it didn't start out that way. It began as a recap of our 4th of July but quickly became a reflection of my oldest child. Which is, of course, the perfect choice for my first one. If you haven't stopped by Stefanie's blog, make sure you do.