Last night we attended the Music Awards dinner with Shannon, our high school senior. She was the president of the Music Program this year, so she had to make a speech. She was nervous. Really nervous. She couldn’t even think about eating when the bread and salad and pasta courses came to the table. But when she was introduced, she walked up to the podium like an old pro. I don’t think anyone could tell that she had almost vomited in the car on the way over.
With her permission here is an excerpt from her speech.
“My sophomore year when we went to Virginia, we got to go to Busch Gardens. I was with bunch of kids that all love roller coasters. And Mr V who also loves roller coasters. And I am not a big fan of roller coasters. (Well now I am, because of this, but) We were on line and I was asking everyone ‘Does this go upside down? Is it really fast?’ I was terrified. And everyone was like, ‘Shannon calm down. It doesn’t go upside down, it doesn’t go too fast. Calm down.’ And I look at Mr V and he says, ‘Shan, I’m not gonna lie to you. It goes upside down. It goes really fast. And you’re gonna be really scared. But as soon as you get off you’re gonna wanna go right back on.’ And I was like, ‘Oh god this is really scary.’ And I went on the ride, and I screamed, and I was scared, and I wanted get off. But as soon as I got off, I wanted to get right back on…. um… and that’s kinda just how Marching Band is. Every year the season starts and we’re nervous, we’re scared, and sometimes we wanna get off the ride, but as soon as it ends… we just wanna do it again.”
She later went on later to say…. “this past year our whole world was turned upside down like a roller coaster. It’s been a wild ride, and now it’s over… and I’m so thankful I got to go on this ride with you.”
I was so proud of her for pushing through her nerves and making this awesome speech. So proud of her in that moment.
What a wild ride it has been for this little drummer girl. The roller coaster ride of marching band has been nothing compared to the roller coaster of life these past two years. She was already dealing with learning issues and serious anxiety before the pandemic struck. Covid compounded it all.
She struggled with school because on-line learning just doesn’t work for some differently abled kids. And just as we were recovering from Covid in our own house, she was handed a pile of grief to carry along for the ride when she lost her grandfather, her cousin, and a favorite uncle.
So I’m proud of her for last night, but I’m even prouder of her every single day. Just for waking up. Getting out of bed. Getting dressed. Smiling. Laughing. Taking a walk with me.
For someone with anxiety and a pile of grief, every day is a roller coaster ride, but every day she has the courage to get on that ride again.
So, while we get dressed up to celebrate these senior year milestones together, with awards and public speeches, it’s really the small quiet victories of every day life that make her one of my biggest heroes.
It’s every little thing she does. I’m glad we’re on this ride together.