The first time I remember feeling this way was on an autumn day as I stepped outside of Leslie Hall at SBU my first year. The local high school band traveled over to the college football field to practice, and as I heard the percussion, the brass, the woodwinds...and as I saw the color of the flags on the field, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I stopped. I realized that I was not taking part in something that had been such a huge part of my life for...well...my entire life...that was very difficult to grasp for me for some reason.
As you may or may not know, my dad is a retired band director. So basically since birth, I had been a part of his program. Every summer, whether I liked it or not, I attended boot camp. When it was finally my turn as a freshman to actually be a part of it all, it was just so amazing. It didn't matter if it was 93 degrees every day, I LOVED IT. It didn't matter if he was hard on us, it's what we needed. It's what it took to be award-winning.
That morning at SBU solidified to me that I was no longer a part of something that was my life for so long. It was more than just missing the good ol' days of high school. It was missing my family. It was missing the early morning rides to school with dad. It was missing his sound system that cut out every few minutes so the trumpet section didn't hear what he said. It was missing his sayings like, "Well, I could drive a Mack truck through that interval!" It was missing his no-nonsense approach to teaching. The approach that has made so many of his students tell me that they learned more from him about real life than from anyone else.
So many things I missed.
And sadly...even though it's now been 12 years this fall since I stepped on the practice field, I still struggle with missing it. If the air is cool in the mornings as I go for a walk with the kids, I often will tear up. If I go to a local football game and hear the band perform the Star Spangled Banner, I might tear up. If I drive by the practice field here in town and see the color of the flags, it's possible...you guessed it...that I might tear up.
As I sit here typing this...I'm tearing up.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for so many memories. Even though I'm sad that it's gone, I'm so thankful it was a part of my life.