Last night, as the sun set over the mighty Kanawha, we nestled in with several hundred of our closest friends to watch Drums Across the Tri-State at Laidley Field.
My son, two weeks shy of his second birthday, perched on the edge of his seat, eyes square on the field. Not a hair on his body moved as he watched the vibraphones and marimbas rolled in or as the color guard placed their flags around the field’s perimeter.
Finally, the band marched on the field and my little guy held up his chubby hand, index finger extended, and shouted “DRUMS!”
He reached for his sticks and started clicking along with the drum corps, ready for the show to start.
His passion was getting ready to take the field, live and in color.
It’s weird to say my almost 2-year-old has a passion, but he does. The kid has an insatiable appetite for all things music, especially percussion and marching bands. Having a father that is a percussion director will do that to a kid, I suppose.
While we try not to force anything on our baby, it’s hard not to nourish the music-loving part of his being. Before he was born, when the musicians on his paternal side were sitting around wondering what instrument he would play, based off his ultrasound pics, someone said, “What if he doesn’t want to be in band?”
Well, that’s fine. Then he’ll just have to settle on being the goalie for the men’s national team. (I’m totally kidding… he’s going to be a striker.) But really, we nourish, but don’t demand. We force nothing, he chooses to play whenever he wants, if he wants.
When he was about 10 weeks old, my boyfriend’s drumline bought the babe his first set of drumsticks. We recently had to throw those away, because they were so broken, they were dangerous. He played with them constantly.
His paradiddle into an inverted grandma-pattyflafla-slap yo mama-book report is impressive, because he practices roughly 6 hours a day. Some kids like to color or play with dolls. He drums. He watches drum corps videos. He goes to drum practice with daddy and auntie (who rocks the vibes).
Every item in the house that is long and cylindrical has been used as a drumstick. But this love for music is not solely drums. It has matured to the piano, the vibraphone, the tuba, the guitar, the ukelele, the mandolin, the didgeridoo. Name something that makes noise, and the kid will try to play it.
Thoughts of a baby Mozart or Beethoven have definitely passed through our minds, though we know it’s unlikely we have a child genius on our hands.
As I sat back and watched him watching bands last night, I became happy and bittersweet at the same time, when I saw him enjoying Phantom Regiment, or any other marching band. I couldn’t help but think that, maybe, in 15 years, we could be sitting in the stands as he prepares to take the field with his corps.
So, momma-friends, what do you do when your child discovers their passion? What steps do you take to help them along?