A few months back we found out our son qualified for the All-State Middle School Honors band. Quite the accomplishment for this French Horn player who is on his third year of playing. The boy is disciplined and driven and when he sets his sights on a goal…stand back and watch. It’s pretty awesome. Anyhoooo….fast forward through a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas season and two days back in school and then Vroom, we are off. All the way across the state (only 2 1/2 hours thankfully!). Here’s how it all went down.
Wednesday: I worked a 1/2 day so that I could get packed and ready and we could leave after school got out. That meant I was able to use my 6 month old mani-pedi gift from the Hubs and THEN start packing! For the win!! Enjoyed a nice lunch with the Hubs, picked up the kiddos packed myself and helped our EXTREMELY excited and hyper 14-year-old and we hit the road. We stayed at my friend’s outside of Tampa. We used to work together back in the day, pre-kids and have a few crazy stories behind us. She and her family were so very gracious considering it was a school/work night for them and we stayed up WAY too late for both of us trying to cram in the last couple of years of catch up into a few hours but it was so very worth it. She’s a crazy hot mess of extrovert and Type A to the MAX (some of my very besties fall in this category….they balance my TypeB/C/D) and it is like being in an alternate universe when I’m with her and fully entertaining, enjoyable, comfortable and awesome. Great way to start off our weekend!
Thursday: We hit the road with PLENTY of extra time (in my suburban brain) for Tampa “city” traffic and made it to check-in/warm-ups well within the window (10 minutes to spare). The boy took his time, was the last to go in the reseating audition and…….the kid got FIRST CHAIR. Un-FREAKIN-believable. I still get a big ole lump in my throat when I remember the most gigantic hug and gratitude he expressed when we got here to his dad and I. And then he gets FIRST CHAIR. You guys. Just. Wow. The enjoyment in seeing his hard work paying off in such a tremendous way and the joy he experienced in that moment is heart-bursting-over-flowing-this-is-what-its-all-about.
Upon getting him settled into a 4 hour rehearsal, I was then free to explore. In clogs and inclement weather. Where better to do that but a bookstore. Oxford Exchange. And with one of my besties and former neighbor from Tally. A taste of heaven, people. A taste of heaven.
Post-rehearsals the mad dash for dinner was beyond crazy. We opted for a pre-made sub at CVS and hit the room for some down time before his 2 hour rehearsal from 7-9p.m. This kid will have no lips left after this weekend. Sleep was most fabulous, I’ll tell you.
Friday: 6 a.m. forced us out of bed so that we could grab some grub ahead of the masses (40,000 people in town for this conference). Most awesome move, ever. No crowds. Yummy food. (neither of us could eat it all, but I DID finish that coffee mug!).
More rehearsal for him and I get to spend time with another friend and then did a little scrapbook shopping and thrift shop exploring with my other friend. Sadly, not only could we not figure a way to bring home a most amazing velour chaise for $50, a migraine crept up on me and delayed our plans a bit for the evening. However, somehow I rallied and we were able to enjoy the All-State Middle school and High school jazz concert. Phenom!
Saturday was a whirlwind of checkout, rehearsal and prep for the concert. Truly impressive how well these kids pulled it together after two days of practices together with a new conductor. The hour-long concert went far too quickly. The drive home was blessedly traffic-drama-free as our boy decompressed from a wild ride of hard work, accolades and new friends. We were both glad to be home and the Hubs and other kids got along just fine without us, even enjoying a lunch on the river Saturday. Life is good, friends. Life is good.
Next weekend, we get to do it again as the kids and I trek it to Savannah to visit with my mom and her husband! Woot, woot! More pictures to come and any recommended sites, restaurants, etc are more than welcome in the combox!! So bring it!