When my family first came to the C Corps practice in February to sign my son up, the first thing my shy 10 year son said was "my Mom hates this." I was shocked to see him speak so freely to a stranger and yes, to tell this family secret. It wasn't that i "hated" drum corps or blue devils, it just was that after 5 years of my son playing little league, I wanted him to join that activity ... because I loved it so much! With life being so busy, we gave Tyler a choice of one activity and he wanted to try C corps. My husband was ecstatic and I, well, just think Prozac. I was the one who loved little league. Every year rotated around the practices and games. My staff as well as my employer knew the commitment "I" gave the league and when I could be paged or interrupted during "the season." The league felt like HOME. I knew "everyone" and was Team Mom of the League one year. My coaches adored me and I spent hours on my own time coming up with newsletters, treats, snacks. I was in my own....and my son hated it.
It wasn't like I was a stranger to drum corps. Our band director was an Ex-Kiltie and ran our band as a corps (I was a colorguard dating the first horn all 4 years). We went to see Spirit of Atlanta the first year they competed and at one show, I saw the Madison Scouts and didn't give them a second thought at the time (those deep southern ties) and little did I realize sitting in that Tennessee stadium I was watching my future husband march with the Scouts. I ran off to California at a young age and was a Blue Devil junkie. Jerry Seawright, Jeff DeMello, Judy Britton, Sondra Williams, George Kelley, the Kibbees all treated me like their daughters. I dated a drummer (don't ask who for I will never tell)! I practically picked up soda cans for the change and had enough to fly to Montreal in 82. I couldn't get enough. I volunteered at the bingo hall just to be a part of the corps and yes, there is where I met (again)? my husband. We were married and didn't use heat so we could have enough change to go to shows. My mother in law and I drove to Madison for finals on yearn (yes, driving in a non-air conditioning colt in the middle of August with your mother in law passing a tornado in Wyoming and Hells Angels camp in ... who the hell knows where we were...but we made it to Madison.
So, as you see, I wasn't a stranger to Drum Corps...but I just didn't think it would compare to "my" other activity, Little League. My husband and son told me not to fret, it would be the "boys" activity and Mom could stay home and do "self care" or whatever new age thing I was in to at the moment.
That lasted a week. My husband's work schedule changed and I had to take Tyler. I felt like a fish out of water. It seemed that everyone knew what to do but me. Do I watch? Where do I sit? Do they need help? Who exactly is in charge of the parents? Tyler was in his own. He loved it the first minute he was there. He loved the music and the "coach" (as I called him) gave them treats from Japan and laughed. Tyler had friends immediately (of course, he is a very loving boy)! But what was I to do. OK, I volunteer for stuff. I volunteered to drive the truck and that was cool. Can I help in other ways I asked and everyone said things were taken care of? Every one was so busy. So I sat there. Every one seemed to know each other and I knew no one. Nope, I wasn't in Pittsburg Little League anymore just as Dorothy knew she wasn't in Kansas anymore.
A funny thing happened. I really digged the show. I sung those @#$% tunes as I brushed my teeth. Tyler and I sung the show on the way to school instead of studying his spelling words. I had a lot of respect for the "coaches." They were treating the kids like they were smart! They were teaching them all kinds of things. They were expecting great things from them and yet, it was fun. I begun to relax a bit.
And then I met some wonderful, awesome folks. There was a group of "rookie" parents that seem to understand me. We wanted to help, to participate, to not be so new, and found that we could do that together. Where Tyler's new friends as "cool" as these folks? Is this why is loves coming to practice? And in that glorious moment, the "Decor" group was formed.
Now, being in Little League as well has having a son in many, many, many school functions, I know how to support my child during performances, games and competition. I pride myself of my vocal strength and endurance, as well as I feel no shame. I will shout, scream, dance, cheer, run, boogie, root for, applaud, bellow, screech, holler, roar, squeal and shriek for my son, his "team" and his buddies. My son is 10 and he has been living with me for all those years so he is use to me "showing my support." Being an Activist and Feminist has served me well in being "supportive " with the voice as well as actions department. I was not a rookie there! So began the competitions and the "Decor" and myself took up the pride (like all the other C corps parents) and did a respectful job in shouting, screaming, dancing, cheering, running, boogying, rooting, applauding, bellowing, screeching, hollering, roaring, squealing and shrieking for these incredible and amazing children. When Family Night happened and two A corps horn players "adopted" my son, it was done for with me....Little League Who? Those two outstanding young men don't even realize how important they are today -- not just then-to my son. They are mentioned often in my house (we don't even know there names...we call them "the guys") and Tyler has "secretly" taken their pictures during the stand still at Precision west. One of the many things they told Tyler was that he blew a mean low c...now I sure that means something to you, I have no idea what it means other than my son still prides himself with his mean low c. They also offered to fix him up with one of their little sisters...but we won't talk about that until he is 35.
At the time that we were signing up for the LA tour, I had the brilliant idea that I would stay home and take care of the animals and try some new age self help guru Buddha loving self awareness weekend without "the boys." That last week of practice, I began to think, "Hey wait a minute...I WANT TO GO!" I can't miss this! I can't stop now. My son needs me! The corps needs me. I need to be with these amazing folks that have stole my heart! I need to be with my "new sisters" and the DECOR. Can the kids even play without my "They're always ready" at the beginning of the competition? Without that...will they be lost.
Then sheer panic struck! I have to find someone to keep the dogs and cat. Maybe they are more self sufficient than I think? If they stayed inside with the air conditioner going and 50 LB bag of food piled on the floor, and the tub filled with water....they will be OK, won't they? I begged friends and not so friends...and before I knew it, I had to send the Corps off without me. Never fear, there is still time, I can drink Big Gulps after Big Gulps and drive down. I called every friend and not so friends...wanna do a road trip? Ah, come on, it will be like old times. Every one had "plans." Okay, okay, I kept telling myself. Calm down. You can miss one show. You can miss the most important show of the whole @#$% season. Your spouse needs this time to bond with his son. Father and son, drum corps members, bonding....without me at the most important show of the year.
So I took to the bed with a box (or 5 ) of candy and a grape icee. I talked to the kids, Dave, and Decor members during the trip. Living thru them. Via the cell phone.
The C corps just finished their show. Dave and the amazing friends/Decor Superstars called me on the cell phone as they saw the kids on the horizon. They talked me thru the kids coming out on the field and when it was time, they held out the cell phone and let me shout, scream, dance, cheer, run, boogie, root four, applaud, bellow, screech, holler, road, squeal, shriek for MY corps. I listened as I bellowed to the best show I have ever heard them do. Yes, My darling children, No body does it better than you. And as they finished, I discovered that I was crying. The dogs were barking and howling. Tears had been streaming down my face and now I was actually crying....for I was so proud of these children. They worked so hard and as much as I thought in the beginning that I was not even gonna enjoy a second of this experience, I loved every single note, flag, rifle, drum, bells, horn, cymbal, saber, fuse, shako, I heard or saw. I was so proud of all those folks who "coached" the kids. I loved the A corps "guys." I loved the Impulse drum majors who stopped in front of the C Corps kids and saluted them. I loved the Renegades for giving the corps the biggest trophy because they richly deserved it.(Nobody, and I mean, Nobody Does It better than C Corps). I love the other parents who went thru all this just as I did. As I sit here waiting for that call from Glendora as they announce the scores....I hope I will love the judges as much later as I do now....
So, what's next? Let's just hope that next year the activity that Tyler picks is not SOCCER....
Like I said, this is a confession from a C corps Mom. Guess What? I confess that I love your organization. And with that, your organization is stuck with me now. This crazy red headed tattooed pierced middle age new age loving, screaming, shrieking feminist and proud Mom loves what you are doing.