While this is a makeup and style blog, I wanted to share a personal update on my blog.
If my life had a soundtrack, top of the list today would be “Coming Home” from Diddy. My husband and I are from Arkansas but have been living in Texas for five years. We’re excited to be moving back to Arkansas in July! This has been a dream of mine for some time. I will be closer to my family and my friends. My family moved to Arkansas at the end of my sixth-grade year and I couldn’t wait to grow up and move away. Isn’t it funny how those thoughts and priorities change as you grow up?
My husband is a band director and, since being married in 2007, we’ve moved from Arkansas to Texas, back to Arkansas, back to Texas, and now back to Arkansas. My husband and I are a team always. We support each other, no matter what. We married young, but I’m proud of how we’ve grown with each other and learned that a relationship is never 50/50. You have to be willing to give 100 when your partner needs it. We will always fiercely support and protect each other, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this kind of relationship. I knew my husband was incredible, but I have had the honor of seeing that through his work with his students. If you know my husband, you know he’s someone who is content to work behind the scenes quietly. He doesn’t seek the spotlight or praise for the work he does. His focus is always on the students. He knows he couldn’t do the work he does without the hard work they do and the investment they have in band. He’s motivated and driven by their success, both inside and outside the classroom. He’s passionate about these kids using their band experience and turning that into a way to get a higher education at the lowest price possible.
There’s an experience I had exactly two years ago this month that I will never forget and think of often. His school hosted a band banquet, and during that event, the senior band members who were graduating each spoke final words to their peers and directors. All of them spoke so highly of their experiences, but there’s one student’s story in particular that brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.
This particular student spoke about my husband last during his speech. He cried as he talked about John being more than just a band director to him. He was someone who let this student eat lunch in his office, who talked about life with him and supported him far beyond playing an instrument or being in band. The student said he wouldn’t have made it through high school without John. I sat at that banquet and just sobbed. I remember meeting John in college and laughing at the thought of him being a teacher. He seemed so gruff at the time and not someone who would want to be around children all day. I quickly discovered that underneath that tough exterior is someone with a heart of gold.
Being married to a band director isn’t easy. You sign up for long stretches of time where you don’t see each other often. You sign up for evenings of never eating dinner together, of spending an hour or two together before going to bed. This especially hit me hard the year I had cancer. It put into perspective how short our time is here on earth, and I love my husband for working even harder to balance the drive and motivation he had at work with spending time with me and focusing on our relationship.
That story about the student is what always reminds me of how important John’s work is. When we only have one day a week together, when I miss him during those long days apart, I remember the importance of working with these young people. He isn’t just teaching students how to blow air into horns. He’s giving them a safe space to build life skills and discover who they are during those tough teenage years. He’s investing in students and helping build their confidence.
It isn’t about how big the band is when you don’t have a director who doesn’t have a servant’s heart. If you don’t have a director who can build a true rapport with his students and their families, the band program won’t survive. And this is absolutely what John brought to his current school, and what he’ll bring to the next. He’s such a man of integrity and character, and has handled so many things with a grace that I don’t know that I possess.
I’m so proud of him, my heart could explode when I think about all the good he contributes to the world. Teachers are incredibly underpaid, but I hope he always recognizes the reward in the students whose lives he has changed for the better. I am so proud to be his wife and can’t wait to see all of the incredible things he does at his new school and all of the new students he’ll get to work with and change for the better.
Here’s to a new chapter and new adventure together as we move back home in July!