I watch the clock.
And I wait.
The alarm clock began it’s annoying pulsing at precisely 5:00 this morning. I rolled over, shut it off and got up to get something to drink. I turned on my computer, reset the Internet and checked email.
Thirty minutes later, I woke Jazz up.
While he stirred, I sat back down at my computer and desperately tried to wake up. I had stayed up until midnight the night before (Why? Because I’m an idiot and apparently? Don’t have any sense to go to bed early on nights I know I have to be up early the next morning).
And the little sleep I got? Was terrible.
I tossed. I turned. I woke myself up to look at the clock worried that I would oversleep and Jazz would miss the bus to his first marching band competition.
When my computer clock said 5:30, I jerked myself out of my sleep-deprived stupor to check on Jazz.
He was on his computer, completely ready to go. Though he was tired, I could see his eyes sparkling with anticipation.
He lives for these competitions.
We went through the checklist:
Band shirt, shoes, black socks (he opted to wear these items so CHECK).
Band jacket, pants, gauntlets, gloves, hat. CHECK.
Duffle bag with travel pillow, blanket (it gets cold on that bus), snacks, two bottles of water. CHECK.
Cell phone, iTouch, DS, headphones. CHECK.
Instrument. DOUBLE CHECK. (He forgot it at dress rehearsal last night and I had to make a mad dash back home to get it before his band director found out and kicked him out of the competition today. He’s strict with the kids, and believe me, it keeps the kids in line).
We were ready to go.
I drove him up to the school. The buses hadn’t arrived yet, but the sidewalk was littered with teenagers, bags, instruments and various props.
I watched Jazz walk to join his peers, his hands full of his own gear and I swallowed the lump in my throat. Though I knew he would be fine, I trust God to watch over the entire band, I felt a little apprehension.
I also felt left out. We had decided NOT to drive to the competition (which was nearly three hours away) because the competition wasn’t scheduled to end until 10:00 – the kids aren’t scheduled to get back into town until 2:30 in the morning.
Which is the time we would have gotten back into town and driving after midnight? Is never a good idea for me.
So. We didn’t go. And though we had a logical excuse not to go, still, I feel like we’re missing something.
I haven’t heard from Jazz yet on how they did. The only reason I know they made it to finals is because the band director is on Twitter and told us they made finals and that they were scheduled to perform at 8:45 – 45 minutes ago. They won’t announce the winner for another hour.
Even then, I don’t expect to hear from Jazz until around midnight – when he’s safely back on the bus, when the excitement has died down a bit and he’s settled for the long drive back.
And that’s only assuming there’s something to tell me. If I don’t hear from him at all, well, it’s probably not a good sign.
The kids will fall asleep, completely entrusting their lives to a stranger – the person driving their bus. I prayed for this person last night. I prayed that he/she would have the mental awareness to get them home safely.
About fifteen minutes out of Springfield, the chaperons will wake the kids and advise them to call their parents so that we, so that I, can drag my butt off the couch (because I won’t be able to go to bed and though I will likely be asleep, it will be a light sleep that any little sound will disturb), slip into my flip-flops, grab a jacket (because it’s supposed to get down to 39 degrees tonight – thank goodness Jazz took his band jacket) and drive the ten minutes to the school.
I will most likely beat the buses back, though I got there late one time last year and Jazz was nearly the last student to leave.
I still feel guilty about that.
He will not talk to me. I will not ask him questions. I have learned, from these trips last year, that he will be too tired, exhausted, wiped out, to want, or be capable of, a conversation. I will simply have to make due to simple yes or no answers and wait to hear the details tomorrow morning.
Though I’m THRILLED that Jazz is involved in band, that he’s making some pretty incredible memories with these trips and competitions, I’m just a teensy bit jealous of all the fun he’s having without me.
Next weekend, they will do it all again – different town, different competition, only THIS time, we will be there, too. The finals start a bit earlier, which means it’ll get over with a bit earlier and we won’t be driving home AS late.
I’m okay with that. Parenthood is full of inconveniences.
Chances are, we’ll never even get to talk to Jazz, but it won’t matter. He’ll know that we’re there, somewhere, in the crowd, praying to God, crossing our fingers and sending him positive vibes.
Because that’s what parents do.
*UPDATE: They came in third! (Out of 18 teams). Not bad!!