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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Last Wednesday night band practice!


Since last August there has been Wednesday night marching band practice. Tonight was my last trip to practice with Emily, Joe and his brother, Liam. Who knew, three years ago, that my traffic defying chase of Joe’s mother to the high school, so I could park behind her, put my face in her window and ask if she would car pool would turn into a dynasty.

The first two years I had Emily, Hamilton and Joe, with Hamilton the big guy in the front seat. Last year Emily claimed front seat, but this year Joe definitely is the big guy in the front seat, with Emily and Liam back. Next year it will be Joe, Liam and Laura. Then Liam and Laura. Then….

I love Joe in the front seat. Joe is on the Asberger spectrum. He has a high anxiety level and a photographic memory. I hear book pages turning in our discussions. He mercilessly cuts me off at the knees when he can no longer wait to disagree with me, makes his point and then tells me to go ahead and make my point.

If I’m not involved, there are great free ranging discussions among the three of them. I enjoy teen age give and take. Joe’s high anxiety level often breaks through; he cannot stop himself from worrying if the band will perform up to the expectation of the director, if the opposing school’s band will diss them after the game, and so on. Emily and I used to march him in lockstep through the reasons to be positive; Liam, in true little brother fashion, tells him to knock it off.

Joe learned to drive last year and has his license. His mother would not let him drive to school until this year, and though he drives himself and Liam to school and back, he cannot drive them to band practice on Wednesday or for a game on Friday because Ohio has a wonderful law banning teenagers from driving in the dark with a passenger.

I can feel Joe driving my car for me, from his seat. Sometimes our feet press the brake pedal simultaneously; sometimes he is a fraction ahead of me. Tonight, for the second time in three years, I took a different route, right out of his street because I would be ten minutes turning left against all the traffic. I had an immediate “Where are you going?”  I told him we were taking the freeway. “Oh, OK,” and he relaxed into the seat.

Traffic was unusually heavy tonight, however. Suddenly, “Oh, this traffic makes me car sick,” and his voice meant it. I had cold air blasting on him a second later, and he picked up where he left off, on the merits of military marching bands compared to show and corps style. I had nothing to contribute to that discussion, so kept on inching and driving, until I delivered them and turned off the air.

I did hear one small “Sto….” thrown into a sentence when I may not have noticed the car ahead of me stopping. I will miss that boy. But, I’ll still have Liam, who is another inimitable person, whip smart and beautifully opinionated.    

And if Hudson is defeated in its first playoff game on Friday, my marching band season is over until next August. Here’s hoping.


25 comments:

  1. I love teenagers. They fascinate me. Of course, my kids are well past their teens, and I adore them. No one understands me the way they do. I know what's most important to them.

    Love,
    Janie

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  2. I love other people's teenagers.

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  3. Joanne, this cracks me up. What a joy you and Joe are. I remember picking up my middle child at 2:00am after games with my little sleeping boy in the back seat. So glad those days are behind me.

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    1. I'm the early shift; their parents the late. God love 'em, youngsters all.

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  4. So... which "side" are you hoping for ;-) ? I didn't n know that Ohio kids couldn't drive after dark... when did that pass? My granddaughter here in TX just got her motorcycle endorsement. She's never ridden a cycle before except for the training. I told her I hoped she learned to ride before you hit the streets... she said she planned to ride up and down our county roads. My reply was that I hoped she told me before she headed out (so I could vacate the premises). I wish I could be more of a grandmother like you are, but ... truth is... my youngest grandkid (was 23 yesterday) scares the bejeesus out of me.... fuschia hair, tatoos etc don't phase me... but attitude... damn! I know your situation must be tough, but I really wish I were as wise and far-thinking as you.

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  5. How I loved this post, and getting to know a little of Joe. And the astutely observed family dynamics. Brothers don't give much leeway do they? Love that you picked up that his car-sickness was literal. Experience pays dividends some days...

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  6. I used to drive my kids to their many and varied activities and jobs. I got to know more about them and their thoughts when we took those rides. They were good times. I am sure that when your grandchildren are grown and on their own, they will remember these years with their so caring grandma and say they were the best of times.

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  7. Daughter used to get carsick ... cold air works wonders!

    "Whip smart, and beautifully opinionated" ... a perfect description.

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  8. Wow, I can't believe the season is over already, but that's because this year is just going by so fast. I know you'll be happy to check that off your list to do for taking to and picking up kids from band practices, games, etc. Joe sounds cute; I bet it is neat to have the discussions you do have with him. I do remember those days with the teens in the back seat taking them somewhere. What you can hear if you just remain quiet and let them talk.

    betty

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  9. All the practices and classes and recitals and teachers' meetings... boy do I not miss those.

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  10. Loved this. Aren't they the best to 'debate' with. You will miss them, I'm sure. But I am just as sure you will enjoy your time alone!

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  11. Hari OM
    I was the one needing the window open... still do! Joe would make for entertainment value anywhere; here will do &*> YAM xx (About to take off from Edinburgh 0400h...)

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  12. That high school band photo resembles the size of a university band! They must put on quite a show. Like that Ohio law about teens not driving at night with a passenger. -- barbara

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  13. It's not often we hear of someone hoping their team will lose, but I understand why you'd want them to.

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  14. Thanks for letting us tag along. I felt like I was "driving" right with you guys! Fingers crossed about the game. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

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  15. I loved your keen observations of Joe's unique thought processes. Thanks for that, it was thought provoking. If only more people took the time to listen, understand, and respond simply (and respectfully) to other people's special needs. I also got a kick out of your honesty in hoping for the end of the season!

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  16. What a wonderful law, it should be the law of the land. He sounds like an interesting kid/young man.

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  17. Dear Joanne, thank you for a very interesting post! Especially the way you described Joe touched me - and I can feel with him, being not in control for the car himself might make his worries larger.

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  18. ah Joanne - teenagers - you've got to love 'em.

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  19. I can be something of a back seat driver too.

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  20. Did we really meet Joe three years ago? Time flies!
    Jane x

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  21. I always had the best conversations with my kids in the car. There's something about being confined in a close place that frees up the discussion. When their friends were with us I learned all kinds of things from their discussions. Now in the summers I have my granddaughters to ferry about on adventures and I cherish that time to listen to them with no distractions.

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  22. What a fine young man. My nephew is also autistic asperger's syndrome. Precious people. You are so kind.to be there for him.

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