Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I'm OK With My Relief Picture


The picture of my waving, smiling Luke in his band uniform at the 2014 Capital One Bowl is my relief picture.  The day before at the pep rally, we heard the Mighty Sound of the Southeast play and raced to the buses to say "hello," except he wasn't at the buses. He's 21, but before I knew he was with Concocktion pep band headed to play for another group, I panicked,  It brought back a memory.

David, James and Grandma
As a high school freshman, Luke traveled with the Westside Ram Band to march before Disney's Spectro Magic parade.  This was a BIG deal for the entire family: our son, grandson, nephew, brother marching down Main Street U.S.A., the place we enjoyed as a family for many years.  We sold, bought and ate Band Fruit.  Seven excited, loyal fans flew, rented a car, stayed at a Disney resort, bought park passes, overpriced food and frivolous souvenirs at Walt Disney World in not so sunny Florida to see Luke march past Cinderella's castle.

It rained all day on Friday and again on Saturday while Luke, wearing soaked shoes, led his friends around Disney World stopping long enough for a coke and fries, so when they arrived at Magic Kingdom four hours prior to the parade, we received a "your son isn't feeling well" call from a chaperone.  Thirty minutes later, we received another call, "we're taking him to first aid."   

We arrived at first aid to find him gray, clammy, shivering, and miserable. Gatorade and crackers didn't help, but when we took his shoes and socks off, we saw why.  I assumed they were feet because swollen white prunes usually aren't attached to ankles.  But, I had a GRAND idea.  First aid's back door opened to the parade "step off" spot.  Luke could rest under a blanket, eat more crackers, drink more Gatorade, and dress in his band uniform.  Brilliant. I called chaperones who were with the band in another section of the park. Sorry, he can't dress in first aid.  According to Disney, it will RUIN the atmosphere.  As a band member, he's part of the MAGIC.  WHAT?  Sitting with my kids in the waiting room, my sister, a former Disney cast member, informed me that Disney doesn't bend the rules EVER.  "We'll see about that."   I ran through Adventure land in the rain with my flip phone and terrible service while David stayed with Luke.  Even for a sick 15 year old and his frantic mother running around in a storm, they didn't.  I couldn't even have his "part of the magic" shoes we owned.
Susi, Hope, Katy
A rare sunny day

One hour until step off.  Pacing under an awning while a Disney guest spilled soda on my shoe, I called the band director begging for some way to bring barefooted Luke to the band.  "Are you trying to make him well so he can march?"  Of course I was. I'm a mom, and seven of us flew down here.   "Oh, no. I think he's much better."  The nurse suggested a wheelchair. What better way for the band director to see he's fit to march. No thanks.  30 minutes until step off.  Thunder, lightening, and April hail delayed the parade.  So, I made one last frantic call to the band director, and he really wanted Luke to march.  "What can we do?"  With an exhausted voice, I cried, "My son. sniff...Just needs.sniff....  Some shooooooes."  20 minutes prior to step off.  Mark, an unforgettable Disney cast member, drove a golf cart to first aid and took Luke to his band.    

Did I enjoy the parade? No. I waited impatiently expecting Luke to collapse on the front row after I promised the director he was fine. David and I followed the band with cameras and anxious hearts to the end of the parade where we saw Mark,  who had played trombone in high school, offer a smile and a thumbs up.  Luke was fine.  Well, he actually had strep throat, but he marched. He was OK.


He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.   Isaiah 40:29

You have granted me life and favor, And Your care has preserved my spirit. Job 10:12

My relief picture reminds me that we don't walk around ecstatic every day, but we're OK; we're still standing.  Maybe not running a marathon, but well and strong enough to work. Not living in a mansion, but having a bed. Maybe not feeling our best, but we feel His Favor.  Maybe not at the top of our game, but surviving and marching to the end of the parade without fainting. Maybe we ride on a bus for 12 hours with a fever and marvelous chaperones take care of us. We make it home and we bounce back with renewed strength. 


Relieved & OK,


By the way, they sell socks, shoes and DRY clothes at the gift shop next to first aid where I stood frantically begging for shoes.
The marvelous chaperones were Carrie Motes, Lynn Guthrie, Maryellen Minniear, and Paula McAbee.  The band director, Shane Vickery, was responsible for Luke's and the entire band's welfare.