Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Parade Connoisseur

Since the 4th of July I have seen several friends, read several blogs, and have come to the realization that not everyone spends the 4th of July at a parade. This is shocking to me. In fact, one friend indicated that they spent the day at home, just relaxing.  This makes no sense to me. I don't know if it is because I grew up in a town that had a main street parade, but the 4th of July without a parade seems wrong.

In my adult life (it's been 17 years since I lived at home) I have only missed the hometown parade three times, maybe four.  It used to be a requirement that we go to my mom's for a BBQ, followed by the most awesome parade ever. But then my mother-in-law moved into the area, and the 4th of July became complicated.  You see, the 4th is also my MIL's birthday. We can't just easily trade off years, we have to be at my MIL's every 4th of July to celebrate her birthday.  A few years ago we made the decision to attend the parade in her town, and not attend MY parade.  It was okay, but it still didn't seem like the 4th.

After much soul searching, and maybe some crying, we decided to try to go to BOTH parades in one day.  One parade is at 12:00, the other is at 5:00, perfect!  So, for the last few years we have celebrated the 4th, not with one parade, but with two. And to be honest, I love it! I really do. It makes for a very long, crazy, exhausting day, but I feel that everyone in my family gets something they love from the day.

I get to sit with my mom, sisters, grandparents, nieces (and yes I now have 2 nieces) and nephews, cheering on people we know in the parade, oohing and aahing over the tractors, waving vigorously to the firemen, and standing to cheer for the ever shrinking WWII vets.  Every year it is mostly the same, we start with firetrucks, have several church VBS floats go through, see the cheerleaders the look younger every year, have two different sets of tractors go through, and end with the bagpipes. It is at least an hour long and I love every minute of it.

My husband gets to spend the 4th with his mom, making her happy because we are all at the parade together.  Drinking yummy coffee and watching for the clowns and Star Wars characters. This parade is good, but not as good as the one I grew up with. And no, I am not just speaking as a biased observer.  This parade is not as long, does not have any tractors in it, very few floats, and very little candy.  But it does have full grown adults dressed up in full Star Wars gear, including Darth Vader.  We love this group, but this year we were in for a surprise. In addition to the traditional Princess Leia, we were treated with the captive Princess Leia. You know the one, the costume most men fantasize over.  And, yes, I stared, because how could you not?

My boys mostly enjoy the parades, Finn loves all the big trucks and tractors.  Micah and Jack just want the candy.  When all the parades are over, the food is eaten, it is finally the time of day the boys are most excited for. Lighting off fireworks. Because we end the day in a small town, fireworks are not illegal - well most of them are not. We head to Ocho's house, because she has the best gravel patch for fireworks.  All the boys, including the grown-up ones, start lighting anything and everything on fire. The higher up it goes, or the bigger the bang it makes, is always the favorite ones. My sister, niece, and I, wrap up in blankets, eat popcorn, and try not to scream when the fireworks come too close.

All in all it is a great day. But having seen two parades for the last 3 or 4 years, I am going to add a new title to my name. I am not only a wife, a mother, a teacher, I am also a parade connoisseur.  Maybe one day I could be the grand marshal at the parade. That would be a dream come true!

Just kidding, because then people would be looking at me, and I would be expected to wave and smile.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Noticed Princess Leia in one of the photos, lovely! :)