At one point in the evening, he called me over with the megaphone - "Mom - Mom!"
"Do we have a radio that communicates with the band?"
"I don't know, Son. Why?"
"Because we need them to know when we are going to do the chant."
And yes - I have successfully passed along the need for control ...
As the game wore on, the band, who sat directly across Tuttle Field from the student section, answered "Redskins" to the student section's "Union" more than once with deep spirited tones. It is magical to see and witness the diversity of our high school rally around a common love for their high school; it is simply magical.
Perhaps the most telling moment of the evening occurred when in the final moment of the game when our team was losing by four points, and the band took the initiative to begin the chant, calling out "Union" to our students. Without a resounding reply, the band members called again. "Union!" and the students surprised but with as much pride as they had when the game began, our answered, "Redskins!" even though the game was out of reach.
In our other world, I would have sent these pictures to his sister and her pride for him would have appeared on social media in the form of a snarky remark and a shout out to the little brother she loved. I can't match her wit - but I do know she would be incredibly proud her "little" brother, standing close to 6' 4" tall now. And she would have been ticked that we lost.
His daddy looked at him that day in the hospital, the day we had him say goodbye to the first hero he had ever known and said, "You can't shut down on us, boy. You can't shut down."
As Joey's son, he hardly knows or accepts defeat and thus, has powered up in the face of the greatest loss his seventeen years of life has ever seen. He squared his shoulders and became the young man we all expected him to be. His strength and courage continue to shine - just like her light. He never shut down - instead he has often been the strength that pulls us forward into tomorrow.
As I left the field, I thought of the song, "Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us..." that I would get to be this boy's mama.
Taylor Renee would be so proud of you Wade Garrett - she would make fun of you, tell you to grow some muscles or some other sarcastic cut and that would be the highest compliment she could give.