I have not had an opportunity to help as a parent of a band member so far this year. So Friday night found me at the football game as a newbie volunteer for the concession stand.
The experienced folks that were supposed to meet me there were late, so as I waited I patiently took in all the sights of the teams and families entering the stadium. I half listened to the sound of the band practicing in the parking lot. As time went by I noticed the music changed and you could hear the approach of the band.
Blocked by the wall, I could hear the marching music, but I could only see the top of the tubas with the stadium lights being reflected. I felt the catch in my throat and subtle push of tears behind my eyes. That feeling I get when I sing the National Anthem or am part of the audience of a patriotic show.
My thought? “What on earth?? It is football game for pete’s sake! . . .”
I decided it must be the tie to patriotism the marching band brings. Then the first of the band, the dance line all decked out in their best costume, entered the stadium. Next entered the horns and then followed by the drums.
Then I realized what I was feeling.
A mother’s pride.
In the midst of those drums was a tenor player. MY tenor player! My child that has rhythm that I know not from where it comes (me nor the other half of his gene pool has any). This child that does barely enough to get by, pushed himself enough to be a good drum player and make it against the odds to be on that drum line.
It dawned on me that patriotism equates to pride – being proud of what that anthem represents, of what it took to fly our flag. I don’t know why I had never tied those words together so clearly before, but it was clearer Friday night. Of course it was, at that moment, pride in my child, pride in having raised him and pride in the battles survived. And now, faith that the future battles will lead to more opportunities of moments to swell with pride.