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Monday, August 18, 2014

Big band blues


My band tolerance is a struggle after these past three days. Some egos are benefiting from three nonstop days of grandmother obligation, and mine isn't one.

Saturday there was a band show, about ten bands, performing their hearts out. I saw one, in year one. I get it, and will be the cheerful front end runner; delivery only, no pick up. (Joe’s mom dropped Emily at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, after the show.)

There were two unscheduled, until last Wednesday, shows the last two days. The first, on The Green on Sunday had meeting instructions intelligible only to a long time Hudson resident. Similarly to the Williamsburg trip this past spring, “Everyone knows.”  It required four emails to get correct directions.

I spent almost four hours in the parking lot waiting for the band to march back from The Green. In truth, only the one third of the band that actually performed. More on that later.

Finally, I got up before six this morning to deliver my two band members to the school to perform at eight for the new teacher orientation. There are more than three hundred members of this band. I watched fewer than fifty be dropped at the curb; the rest parked their big cars and went in.

Driving Emily and Joe back home this morning, so I could actually go to work, I listened to their list of who will not be on the bus when school starts on Wednesday, because driver’s licenses have been obtained.  No need to flog this subject again; these children do not need to be driving cars for other children to jump on  hoods and trunks.

Emily already floated the learner’s permit idea to adult family and friends, hoping to drum up support. It was a tactical error in several ways, not the least the unabashed attempt to end run grandma. It called forth my best “play the hand you’re dealt” soliloquy, which does not include a car.

The little mini-band performance I chauffeured Sunday evening was another revelation. Looking around the assembled players I recognized many section leaders, not much else. I asked Emily later if her presence had been required. No, she was there “to help the band.” Further drilling revealed only section leaders and the drum line was required to perform Sunday. Between the lines I saw she intends to be a section leader next year. Perhaps with enough responsibility to require a car.

Will being a section leader change your band grade? No. Will being a section leader get you a scholarship in chemistry, biology or engineering? No.

Perhaps it’s good to aspire to being a section leader, but I doubt it. No grandma I know will put in the extra hours and car expense.

I asked who came to the mini band show Sunday night. Some old people, some band parents and some people who were high school seniors during her last two years. I was stunned. Do they have a life? Or will they just become more band parents.




26 comments:

  1. Oh dear. I am, as always, in awe at your patience and tolerance. I suspect that Emily will have to get up very, very early to outsmart her grandmother.

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  2. Sounds like you're banded out - but I am sure they appreciates your support.

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  3. Sounds like you're banded out :D but I am sure they appreciate your support. I think it's wonderful that Emily has such enthusiasm.

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  4. Sounds like you were played Grandma.

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  5. Around the corner from me there is a family with 4 teenagers one is 21 now all but the youngest has a car the parents buy them one the moment they get their permit, their driveway is full and so is their front curb, these children are not my favourite people they are spoilt and use people for what they can get best to teach them that that some things they have to wait for and it's best to save up and get them for themselves.
    I love a good band.
    Merle.........

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  6. I had to take my kids to all band and sports practices and events. I was always in my car driving to and back from something. Thank God, I was in carpools because the four of them were involved in different teams and bands. They were good, talented kids and because they were involved in school activities, they never had time to get in trouble. Now I go to my grandchildren's games and concerts which I enjoy, but I have been lucky that I am not asked to chauffeur anyone to practices. I hope you have a car that gets good mileage.

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  7. A lesser woman would crumble.
    Jane x

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  8. Emily's driving would take a lot of stress off of you since you wouldn't have to car pool as much, but then would put on the added stress of worrying and being concerned about her driving, following rules, etc. I think you are wise to let her continue to take the bus, get rides from car pools, or be chauffered by you even though that can be challenging at times for you and your schedule.

    betty

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    1. I cannot afford to buy her a car, insure it, maintain it.
      Actually, I need a granddaughter who does not feel entitled to what she does not have, and who is grateful for what she does have.

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  9. Man, sounds like your life is unremittingly difficult, filled with recalcitrant people. My symathy, hope it gets better.

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  10. She sounds determined....has a strategy in place...but has miscalculated her grandma......
    Now were she to apply this determination to something scholarly.......

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  11. You're a very wise Grandma to hold out on the car issue. And to remind Emily that academic work is so much more important than being a section leader or even in the band at all.

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  12. Sounds like Emily is trying to wear you down. Not an uncommon approach for a teenager, but hopefully an unsuccessful one.

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  13. As my kids approach adulthood I tremble at the thought of them out on their own without supervision. Emily will do great because you are there to maintain balance. Teen years ( to borrow a new phrase from them ) suck. :)

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  14. When Emily NEEDS a car, she will be able to afford to buy one, get the insurance and buy the gas..That means a full-time job. Maybe a college education will lead to that. To have a kid in an affluent school system is sad. Entitled instead of earned. A bad lesson to learn at such a young age.

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  15. Hari OM
    An unenviable position. Seems Emily is trying to out-wile gramma... YAM xx

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  16. Band sounds a lot more complicated these days.

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  17. My son played the double bass (still does but he is old enough to look after himself now) and I spent hours trecking up and down the country taking him to various bands/orchestras/gigs. So you have my sympathy.

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  18. better to be in band than in trouble though

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  19. Dear Joanne, raising teenagers when we're older has to be hard. I spent ten days this summer with a friend whose oldest child--a girl--will be 13 in December. I'd forgotten what children that age are like. Absolutely delightful and interesting and endearing one minute and a shrieking drama queen the next. I've never had children so no grandchildren, but I can sympathize with your having a disrupted life. I do agree with Linda Starr that perhaps it's better to be in band--and even a section leader--than to have too much time on one's hands and get in trouble. Peace.

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  20. I feel your pain -reminds me if all the dance competitions :)

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  21. None of my grandkids have driver licenses, at least the three that are eligible. the boy is 17, the twins are 16. there is no money in the house for three teenagers to have cars and insurance so they get driven around. they also didn't have phones. they all have full time jobs this summer, the twins couldn't wait to be old enough to get a job. now they all have phones that they pay the bill for. I admire the hell out of you and thank my lucky stars I haven't had to.

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  22. My father drove up one evening with an old car he no longer wanted and announced that it was for my two son’s who obviously thought they would be driving it to school the next day. I locked the keys in the safe and told them they could when they paid for their own gas, insurance and upkeep. It sat for the next two years.

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  23. Your gr-kids are lucky to have you. I like Doc's idea. That is what we did.

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  24. Dear Joanne,
    that was tough - on both sides, if I understand it right. Of course 'children' want a driver's licence and a car - but I think it very OK that they have to work for it - at least a part. Till then you will have to do the driving - or they take a bus or go with a neighbour - they should not think they have chauffeur-guarantee, but be thankful to you for a treat.

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  25. I remember band, second chair flute, and years of private lessons. Band does not get you where you need to go in college unless you are the best of the best and get money. But it is a lot of attendance requirements.

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