Tying Up Loose Ends

by Mariann E. Danko

By the time I post this my Son and I will have completed the gauntlet that was hell week. The week leading up to the band trip to Orlando. 

The reason I’m calling this hell week is because there is something every night leading up to our Friday flight to Florida.

Monday night is parade rehearsal along with an after school orchestra rehearsal, Tuesday is a mandatory meeting about the trip, Wednesday is Spring concert rehearsal and Thursday is the Spring concert, after which uniforms and instruments will be collected so they can be transported to Florida via truck.

Full Calendar

Thank goodness they are not squeezing in luggage collection prior to our departure. I was worried about that. Two years ago luggage collection was the day before, but we left on a Sunday. The process has been simplified, with the students bringing their luggage with them the morning they leave. Of course they have to be at the school at the ungodly hour of 3:30AM, but at least they can sleep on the bus to the airport and plane.

My Son and I could have bowed out of this trip, and we did come close, but being his Senior year, we both figured it would be a great way to end his high school marching band experience. 

Knowing now that my Son won’t be attending a college that has a marching band I am grateful we did. (His college of choice offers pep band, jazz ensemble and symphonic band, so he will continue to play, he just won’t be marching.)

Looking Back

This trip truly plays into the “year of lasts” which I wrote about at the beginning of band camp in August. At this point, we have checked off quite a few “lasts” already (last band camp, last football season, last winter concert, etc.. ) and in all honesty as we draw closer to my Son’s graduation we most certainly feel like we are tying up loose ends.

Kind of funny “The Walking Dead” has done the same thing. Capping off Season 8 with the final battle between Negan and the Saviors, and Rick and company, with Rick’s gang winning, thus opening the door for a new beginning at the start of Season 9. Just as my Son and I will face a new beginning when he heads off to college in August.

Quite the nice parallel for the final months of this blog. Thank you TWD.

TWD Finale

As I noted earlier, the week before our trip will be my Son’s “last” spring concert. When we get back I will be running my “last” clothing drive for the music boosters, a task I will not miss.

This became my project by default as did other projects, but there is no need to get into that when I will officially be retiring from the music boosters when my Son graduates. If only I could retire from my day job too.

The weekend after the clothing drive my Son will be going to his Senior Prom, which is pretty much the “last” rite of passage in high school, before graduation.

After that I will be perform my “last” official act as a booster board member when I help run concessions at the schools festival of the arts.

Although I truly enjoy the company of my fellow booster board members, I will most certainly be happy to free up what little free time I actually have. I have a list of unfinished personal projects that needs my attention and I look forward to diving into them.

In between all the “lasts,” my Son will also have the orchestra spring concert and jazz ensemble performances, but I can’t truly count them as “last” because they are also “firsts.” He was not in orchestra prior to this year and last year he was in the jazz lab band, not ensemble.

So, as my Son’s Senior Year winds down, and we check off the last of our “lasts,” we have also begun to look to the future for “firsts.”

48323894 - game booths at the carnival illustration

In May my Son will start his “first” official job. It may just be a Summer job, but up until now he’s predominately volunteered his time, never getting paid. Good thing he’s going to start getting paid because he now has a car and needs to help pay for it, his insurance and gas. Plus stash money aside for college.

This Summer will be the “first” one in four years that we won’t have to plan our time around band practices and band camp. Yes, we have my Son’s work schedule to take into consideration, but that will be a welcome change.

And of course, in August comes college move-in-day and my Son’s “first” day of college. This “first” will be the toughest one. It is one we face with excitement and anxiety. I know my Son will love college once he settles in, but it’s the settling in process I’m concerned about.

29214391 - illustration of a male college student moving into the dormitory

We will however have this extremely different Summer filled with “firsts” to hopefully distract us from this “major first” facing us in August.

In the meantime, I will cherish all the final “lasts” we will be experiencing over the next couple weeks. Even when it seems like there is barely any time to breath, I will pause to remind myself this is the “last” time such and such will be happening, so take note of everything to store in my memories.

I will also remind myself that in a year from now both our lives will be completely different. And, more than likely, we will look back to these insane times with great joy and sentiment.

It dawned on me that maybe the universe is keeping us busy as a way to keep our minds off the future. I know I get a little emotional when I think about all that lies ahead, and if I don’t have time to think, I just have time to act, these emotional times are kept at bay.


So, I guess I need to be grateful for the busyness, because as our “lasts” shift into “firsts” and our lives change, I will be looking for things to fill the void.

Oh yeah, that’s what my endless list of unfinished projects is for! 


© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2018. All rights reserved.

Photos from person collection.

TWD photos courtesy of AMC

Carnival Games – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_blueringmedia’>blueringmedia / 123RF Stock Photo</a>