As I think back on 2018, I have to say that it was a mixed bag of emotions. There were so many outstanding things that I wouldn’t trade for the world right alongside of some miserable moments as well. I wanted to write a reflection of this year – what I’ve learned and where we’re headed. I’m welcoming 2019 with open arms hoping that it brings in calmness and a tad bit more peace then I’ve been handed in quite some time.
Well, you don’t get into the United 1K club by sitting at home. Don has traveled here, yonder and there. Overseas to China and Thailand, hit more states domestically than I can count, and remained a fairly dignified traveler all the while, best I can tell.
This winter, Don programmed and designed (I think) 8 indoor drumlines. One walked away with a World Championship and 6 others were world championship finalists. He created and painted some of the most beautiful props I’ve seen, and every show was so unique and well thought out — I couldn’t believe any one person could have thought it all up. Funny story: a media outlet serving the marching arts interviewed Piper and asked what it was like having Don Click as her dad. Her response “Our house smells like glue.” LOL!!! Indeed it does — especially when he’s building prototypes of props!
System Blue has had an incredible year and Don is doing a bang up job as their VP of Marketing. The Blue Devils Drum & Bugle Corps is now playing on 100% System Blue instruments from hornline to front ensemble — a huge feat! Don dipped his toes into the drum corps world this year as a consultant with Pacific Crest, and at the end of the season accepted a position as the Program Coordinator at The Colts. He has put together an amazing show for them and I, for one, can’t wait for the first performance!
July 4 started a whirlwind for Don as he was diagnosed with kidney stones (a Lifetime movie in itself) and ultimately it was determined that he had a cancerous mass inside of his kidney. Low magnesium and potassium levels caused several delays in surgery, but ultimately in September the mass was removed. At this point, no further treatment is required, and we are praying that it remains this way as we go into 2019. This process has brought to light the shortcomings in our American health insurance system and I feel as though I’m now qualified to lead seminars on the pitfalls of hospitalization costs in our country. Although Don’s first words upon waking up from surgery were “this place is a dump” … he was treated very well and had wonderful nurses to take care of him, as well as his mom who stayed nearly 2 months getting him back to health.
Finally, this fall, Don kicked into marching band mode. It was an odd season for him since he had major health issues from July – September, but he still managed to create some wonderful productions. Several schools qualifying for state for the first time ever … and others for the first time in many years. BOA finalists at every regional they attended and finishing in the top half of the competition. I don’t know many people that could pull off what he did, under the circumstances, but when it’s how you keep your family alive – you make it happen. And, for that, I’m very appreciative.
If we were giving an award for “Most Changed in 2018” – it would go to Avery. In more ways than just growing out his hair (which I’ve finally decided I like), Avery grew into himself. He’s always been a bit shy and definitely reserved, but I’m so happy to see that he’s found his voice. Not just in the most fantastic group of friends, but also in most every part of his life. I see him speaking up and sharing his ideas, values, opinions, and his truth. He is the most incredible person and inspires me every day. If you haven’t gotten the chance to get to know him, take the opportunity. His kindness and sense of humor will make you smile and brighten your day.
Avery spent time with both grandparents in the summer, something he always looks forward to. He went by himself to my parent’s house in Kentucky for a week. They took him to Eastern Kentucky – back to the roots of our family. With my grandfather passing away in 2017, it’s become more evident that my kids don’t know much about where they came from. I’m so glad that Avery got to experience “the mountains” and see firsthand where we came from. (Now to get him to Italy to see the other side of his lineage!)
The remainder of the summer and fall were filled with band for Avery. My heart could just burst talking about how proud I am of this kid and how he grew and improved. Avery had a marimba spot and worked so very hard. A great friend and supporter gifted Avery a marimba so that he could practice at home — and did he ever. I saw so much leadership start to develop, a passion and fire, and a little friendly competition. Avery wants me nowhere even close as he’s playing, and trying to snap a picture comes with rolled eyes and a deadly glare, but that didn’t stop me or slow me down! (It also helps when one of your best friends is the band photographer – she could help me out when I was in the line of fire!) I can’t wait to see what this next semester brings with solo and ensemble and concerts.
Finally, Avery is still rocking out life in the classroom. Smart as a whip. I told someone the other day that if he didn’t look just like me, I would think that he’d been switched at the hospital. Don and I are no dummies, but we aren’t Avery. Tears start to form when I think that he’s off to college in two years. It blows my mind. But, it comes at a price — Avery has 4-5 hours of homework every night and often more than that. He has no social life during the week, and my sleep deprivation is totally due to staying up with him. Scores for the PSAT just came back and he was in the 98% percentile overall. I know that all of his work will pay off and that he’ll be able to write his ticket to college, but I do long for him to just get some good rest.
Piper Piper …. where to start with her. Piper is still dancing every minute of every day. It’s who she is to the core. She’s changed paths into more of a commercial style which is a change for her and a stretch, but one that I’m confident will help her reach every goal. Making the Tremaine Performance Company was absolutely life changing for Piper. We traveled near and far for her to train with their faculty, assist in convention classes, and perform in their shows. In one year, we hit Houston, Austin, New Orleans, Kansas City, Washington DC, Tulsa, Dallas, Orlando, and LA (twice). We’re broke, but happy.
One of the most amazing moments of the year happened in Orlando at the Tremaine Nationals. Our home dance company, DanceZone, had taken their production to compete and it was selected to perform in the Gala on the closing night of nationals. This was an amazing honor!!! Front row sat the iconic Joe Tremaine, the convention faculty, Marty Kudelka, Mandy Moore and Corbin Bleu. Piper got to perform not only in the DanceZone piece which was awarded Silver, but also with the Tremaine Performance Company. When the night was over, Piper sobbed. She was overcome with emotion for her team, her TPC friends, her teachers, and the experience. As long as I live, I’ll never forget that night and seeing Piper’s light bulb moment. Hard work pays off … and follow your gut.
This fall, Piper was asked to be the featured character in the high school marching band show. A role she gladly accepted. She had the time of her life and looked so forward to every performance be it a football game or a competition. Although she was adamantly against ever giving marching band or color guard a second glance, she’s now come full circle and decided that she will do it next fall. She will never give up dance – her DanceZone or TPC family, but she’s now proven that she can do dance and marching season – so it’s a perfect combo.
Not to be outdone by her brother – ever, Piper is also the model student. She’s in 8th grade, but taking 2 high school level classes, and the rest are all Pre-AP honors courses, as well as performing in the top concert band. She’s carried all A’s this year. So when people ask why we allow her to travel and dance like we do, I always reply that it’s hard to say no when she causes us no discipline problems and is making straight A’s carrying the hardest subjects in school.
Me? I’m hanging in there. I still don’t ask for help when I need it and pretend that things are great even when the world is crumbling down around me. So, I’m going to work on that for 2019.
I love my job at Ker & Downey. Our marketing team is out of this world and I truly enjoy going to work every day. I’m appreciative that I have the flexibility to work remotely which has allowed me to travel with Piper and work while she dances. I’ve decided to open back up and start taking freelance marketing clients again in 2019 – I love what I do and I’m good at it, so if you know a small business owner – send them my way.
I’m happiest when I’m supporting my kids, that’s for sure. I’ve taken an increased role and serve on our band booster board of directors. I created all the marketing and media content for our band this year and loved every single second of it. I’ve been feeling led to help other high school bands increase their presence online and hope to move forward with some plans to make that happen in the New Year.
My own presence online has been down. I’ve not updated on Facebook or Instagram as much as I have in the past. For a lot of reasons, mostly fear of people judging my choices or fear of over-sharing. But, I hope to at least start writing more on my blog again. (I’ve actually ghostwritten for many other blogs, just not my own! LOL!)
For 2019, I just want to reset my priorities. I did a great job of that two years ago and I think it’s time for a redo. Especially with Avery only home for 2 more years, I want to make sure that all of my time and energy and resources are the best that I’ve got for Don, Avery and Piper. My best me … for each of them.