Band Mommery

I may be the worst band mom in recent history.

I have a daughter in band but I haven’t exactly fit the profile. 

I haven’t yet volunteered for any really big meaningful jobs. Jobs like Band Camp Snack Bringer. Or Sausage & Trinket Sale Coordinator. I helped supervise at a car wash once. But that was only because the mom who was really in charge got a little bit overwhelmed, the kids were out of control, she got soap in her mouth and folded up her chair, threw her sponges in her trunk and quit.

I don’t take the time to learn anything about the music. I only really watch my own kid, so when the other parents say things like, “Drum line has to learn the 3/4 4/4 alternating time in Section 3 by Tuesday,”  I chime in with “Heck yeah!” just to show them that I’m listening. I’m not even sure I know what the drum line is. 

And while I ordered the big salad-plate-sized photo pin of my daughter in her band uniform, I have never worn it. It doesn’t fit in my jewelry box (and it’s not really jewelry anyway, is it? It covers my entire chest. I think I could wear it as a top.) I stashed it in a box with my AARP invitation under the label Things I Should Deal With But They’re Bad for My Self Esteem.

It’s not that I’m not capable of handling stage mother duties. I can put together a spaghetti dinner at my house for 80 track kids without too much spillage. I can take pictures of high schoolers doing anything, even the ones who are running really fast and kicking a ball.  I can coordinate, delegate, supervise, chair and co-chair the living daylights out of anything related to school, sports, or another organized group.

The problem is that I wasn’t in band when I was in high school, so I just don’t get it.  I don’t fit in with the other band moms, because they are all former French horn players or flautists who still remember what their moms did for them. I was in choir and we didn’t have moms.

I’ve made attempts to change my evil ways. I tried to lend a hand with uniforms once. The band was at a highway rest stop and suddenly big garment racks were wheeled out of a truck and the kids started scrambling for their uniforms. I jumped in and started calling out names, snapping spats and putting feathers in caps. When the whirling dervish was over, the uniformed kids sped away on buses, I was standing in the parking lot with one black sock, a white glove and a trumpet. “This can’t be good,” I said, and stuffed them into one of the snack coolers.

Last year I showed up at band camp to watch, thinking that was pretty bandmomish of me. There were between 25 and 30 other parents there, in the middle of the day, lined up on folding chairs, with Band-aids and smelling salts at the ready, all intently watching the practice. Some of them were on cell phones telling someone I can only guess was the other parent that Travis was 1/16th of a beat off at the end of Part One. “He’ll be practicing that at home tonight.” I watched for a while, saw that it was pretty much a bunch of hot, sweaty teen-agers standing with their hands together in fists up to their mouths, elbows out, and other than the weaklings that were crumpled to the ground, not much was happening. I snapped a few pictures and went home.

This year could be better. I’ve already signed up to help at band camp for two days, I’m bringing a couple cases of Gatorade one day, and I put my name on some sign-up sheets for something or another. I even got the health form notarized. 

I think I might becoming a real band mom. Choir moms, watch and learn.