We headed out an hour early. This was not due to my being well thought out, just due to misinformation. But it worked out extremely well for us. I thought I was leaving half an hour early. If I had left a true half hour early, I'm afraid we wouldn't have found a spot to park our car.
We settled onto a grassy spot in front of a strip mall and waited for the roads to close down. The kids did really well sitting exactly where they were put, and I was thankful. It was me and the brood all by ourselves. Daniel was tucked snugly in the Ergo, but the other four were free to roam. I counted my blessings that we have so diligently practiced sit time. The four of them sat and chattered and mused about what a parade was and how the floats moved and what exactly a float was. They asked if there would be balloons like the Macy's Parade.
I tried to explain what a parade was and why this one was taking place, but it was just beyond their scope of experience. And let's face it; parades are one of those things you just have to experience in order to totally grasp.
While the conversation was going on, Gators, golf carts, and 4-wheelers were zipping up and down the sidewalks (you know, where people were trying to walk). A few were the police, but many of them were captained by privilege-buzzing high school boys. It wasn't always pretty, but thankfully, there were no accidents.
The kids watched the scene and cheered. Then a cop car came up the road with it's lights going and sirens on, signaling the beginning of the parade (some mile or so up the road yet). Again, the kids cheered. Thomas exclaimed that the parade was so much fun and thanks for bringing them!
These people of mine have low expectations.
The elderly couple sitting next to us laughed and took it upon themselves to enlighten the kids as to how parades really worked.
Now, I apologize to any local Madison-ites who may be reading this post, but the parade was one of the smallest I've ever been to. And the floats were not at all what I was expecting. One of the 'floats' was set up in the back of a pick up truck. It was set up to represent a fire pit with a large stuffed tiger roasting on the spit.
I'll grant you, it was entertaining, but where I grew up, floats were a big deal. Lumber and chicken wire and poms and glue and staples and BIG. Artistic creations built on trailers that were pulled by trucks. They took weeks of planning and plotting and putting together. Committees of students with the hope of boasting of the first place award worked for hours each night for a week or two preparing the massive (I might or might not be exaggerating a little) float.
Why yes, I did come from a small town with only one high school. What makes you ask?
My children, however, had no such expectations. They cheered and waved and danced and hollered and ran out in the street to grab candy and slap high-fives. They were just excited to be there and be in on the action! Anna kept getting so caught up in the activity that she would be half a block down the road quicker than a wink.
I swallowed back my disappointment and enjoyed the moment with my children. Between chasing Anna and holding my hands over Daniel's little ears (who slept through the whole thing!), I found myself laughing along with the children and delighting in their chatter and excitement.
I love this part of parenting, the part where I get to share in their excitement. Anything from a neat shaped leaf to a 'float less' parade. Their jubilation is contagious. I'm glad I get to catch it!
they ran out to greet people, and the laughter that bubbled out of them.