As people, "firsts" are important in life. First job, first kiss, first marriage (hahaha).
It's funny the firsts that stick with us.
I never knew that parades were so important to me. But they apparently are. We took Teagan to her first neighborhood parade yesterday. And it was Zach's first parade ever.
Our neighborhood has a "freedom festival" at the end of June every year. There is a 5k run/walk- that experience might get Jeff blogging again; it was not a good one- a neighborhood festival, a parade, and the weekend ends with fireworks.
We don't do the festival. It's booth after booth of food, crafts, direct sales, etc. We've gone twice- once with kids and once without- and didn't find it very exciting for us.
We watch the fireworks every year from Teagan's bedroom window. We get the full show with no mosquitoes, no crowds, no traffic.
This year, it was a family first. The parade. They close down streets around our neighborhood and in our neighborhood for this parade. It's usually 80 or so floats/groups. We usually make sure we are no where near home or content to be locked into our home during parade time.
This year, Teagan noticed that something was different on our drive to and from church. Folks around here like to set out chairs and blankets to reserve their viewing spot for the parade.
Teagan asked to go to the parade.
But we don't do parades... But we don't... But we... But...
We packed the kids up into strollers and walked the distance to the parade route. We happened upon a shady spot that would remain shady- it was ideal. The kids snacked and played "run around the tree." We played many rounds of "I Spy" with Teagan. A large family group came along and asked if they could share in our shade- and we made new friends!
The parade is getting closer- we can hear the sirens blaring. Soon we catch sight of the flashing lights of the firetruck... and catch sight of the police motorcycles... and the parade has begun.
And I fight back crying. And not the tearful kind. The welling up from deep within wracking sobs kind. Not a sadness thing. The overwhelming excitement of catching glimpses of this "parade" through my kids' eyes. It just struck at me solidly in the chest. And I realized that I feel that gasping, sobbing, wracking, overwhelming excitement at the start of any parade.
And I have no idea why.
The kids loved the parade. They got candy and magnets and we even got a rather large red ball (from Target). There were local TV celebrities, some sports people, oodles of Shriners, local businesses, only a couple of politicians, dance groups, cheerleaders, marching bands, churches.
Teagan's first freedom festival parade. Zach's first parade ever.