Sunday, October 18, 2009

Heavenly Family On Parade

Our parade day adventure started out on the wrong foot. It stumbled and stubbed its toes on little obstacles - making us late and cranky, one and all.

We parked on the wrong side of the small town, having to walk much further than we'd imagined. After about 30 minutes of wandering side streets and winding around parade staging areas, we made it to our family and friends just in time for Mia to announce that she was ready to go home.

The temps were in the low forties - on a blustery and cloudy day - threatening rain, and we'd forgotten the umbrella. If it hadn't been such a long walk back to the car, I might've given in to Mia's homebound heart, but then what would we have to show for our super-fun morning plans?! We'd planned to hang out with some close friends while we were there, and were looking forward to a big-time parade.

This parade is the largest in the area, and the news reports boasted 80,000 people would be gathered to watch it. With those kinds of numbers, it promised to be worth our while. We may have been numbers 79,995 - 79,999 to arrive, so we were greeted with a solid wall of humanity blocking our view of the parade route. To our left, this:

Across the avenue, this:

Parade-goers stacked 4 or 6 people deep, ready to support all the local marching bands and small town clubs and businesses. To our right, this:

Knowing my daughters as I do, and worrying that they'd become bored after standing still for longer than 2 minutes (which they did), I whipped out snacks to barter for their patience.

Like a charm, the cereal bars lifted their antsy spirits and made way for better enjoyment of the parade.

The bands were the best part. After the girls got over their nervous tendencies around loud noises, they both liked listening to them and watching their routines. We kept catching Lauren in impromptu stroller dances when any particularly lively song was being played. She got out of the stroller several times, only to squirm and thrash in our arms in attempts to dart down the sidewalk or play in the wet grass. When she realized we weren't going to let her do either and that her choices were limited to stroller or arms, she settled down a bit and enjoyed her blanket covered parade-mobile.

Mia started enjoying herself too - especially when we told her that candy was being thrown.

This was my main disappointment with us being so hidden behind 4 rows of people - Mia couldn't catch any candy. (Side note: Who would've thought a sugar-Nazi like myself would have been sad that my 3 year old missed out on oodles of candy? I've come so far.) (Side-by-side note: I'm only a sugar-Nazi where my children are concerned. I myself have no problem indulging my sweet tooth more often than is probably healthy. I'm such a cheat.) She managed to squeeze past the rows to get to the curb once, and it was so cute to watch her slowly and timidly jump down to reach a forgotten Tootsie Roll on the asphalt. All told, she got three candies. Plenty, from my strict-mom standpoint, and she never knew the difference. This being her first parade, she didn't know that sometimes there are kids with entire bags full of candy as loot from the floats.

After being at the parade for about an hour and a half, we decided to jump ship. The girls had reached the end of their rope, plus it was starting to sprinkle. Knowing we had a 30 minute walk ahead of us, we snuck away. A few blocks into our trek, the skies opened up and it finally started raining. Mia, on Justin's shoulders, didn't really like serving as his umbrella. Lauren was tucked under her stroller hood, but the rain was blowing into her face. Our friends were walking with us, and we womenfolk decided to wait out the rain under a leafy Maple tree while the daddies ran to get the cars and rescue us.

What began as a frustrated and cranky morning, ended on a happy note. Not because we'd had the best view, or the best weather, or the best candy, but because it was something of an adventure. Hoisting our daughters high above the crowds to glimpse the twirling flags or booming drums was fun. Laughing with friends on a rainy, cold trek over warped and buckled sidewalks was fun.

And then warming ourselves at a pizza parlor with our daughters and friends was downright heavenly.


  1. Despite the marathon to get there, the candy drought, and the rain, I'm glad you guys had fun! Have I told you that your daughters are cute before?! :D

  2. I was waiting and waiting for you to get to the warm pizza part. It's all I could think of with all of that wet grass and those gloved fingers.

    Glad it felt you defeated a mountain that day.

  3. Hooray for friends and fun!! What an adventure.....the story of my life. We had so much fun with you guys, thanks for going with us!!

  4. I LOVE it when life turns a cranky day into a fun day.

  5. So glad that the girls' first parade turned out better than it started! We took our kids to their second parade this past summer (first they remembered...) and silly mommy who's always getting choked up with every little thing started crying when I saw how happy they were at our cute little town parade! My husband kept asking, "WHAT'S wrong???" like I had three heads, lol!


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?