The Perfect, yet Imperfect Labor Day Parade

Do you have people in your life that just being with them, no matter the circumstances, make you feel happy and balanced again?  We have a special family whom we have loved for over a decade.  They are definitely a plus for living in Nebraska, because when we lived in Maine, we MISSED them SO much.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that we live less than 50 miles apart, life gets in the way of seeing them as much as we want.  That alone made our outing with them fantastic, despite the forces making it less than perfect.

The plan was to meet at a gas station in a small town in between where they live and we live.  We were going to park together, and then watch a parade.  We didn’t know what, if anything would happen after.  The beginning went off without a hitch, we met and started our “caravan” to a parking spot.  Scott nicely let someone cut in between the M’s van and ours, because he is a nice driver.  Upon parking, the car that Scott let in took the parking spot that we wanted. We laughed and joked about it, but that set the tone of the afternoon.

The kids were awesome as we waited at least 30 minutes for the small town parade to start.  I wanted ONE picture today.  I wanted a NICE photo of Dawn and I together since the last one I have I am wearing my wedding dress.  Gosh, it was TIME to update it!  Well, this is what we got:

We will have to try this again soon!

Once the parade started, the kids saluted the flag, and waved at the people in the parade, hoping that every person we saw would throw some candy.  (I mean, come on, that is WHY kids LOVE parades!)  Some floats went by and they all threw out a few pieces here and there.  The kids got some, tried to eat it, or put it in the collection bag.  Oftentimes the kids shared with each other without prompts and they reluctantly shared with prompts.  Overall, everyone was happy and that was awesome.

Then, the adults started noticing something: Our kids were getting skipped!  The parade throwers were throwing across the street, to the group of kids on our right and left.  Every time they were skipped, our kids were slightly disappointed.  We all encouraged them to be grateful for what they had and to make sure to THANK the people who gave them free candy.

About half way through the parade, it got AWKWARD to say the least, because a Mom type WOMAN started running out into the street grabbing candy and handing it to her kids.  Now, we tried not to care, because we don’t NEED the candy, but the point of a parade is for kids to work for their own treats, and practice sharing.  The weird part is that SHE WAS NOT THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE STREET BEGGING FOR FREE CANDY!  Now, I get that we were in a small town and some people might be funny, but this was not like that.

My bestie had  to turn on her “Mama Bear” settings when the aggressive Parade Mom started stealing candy that was thrown to our two-year old!  Seriously?????  At that point, I sat on the curb, I just couldn’t watch this any more.  I mean, COME ON!

Once our kids got too close to the cars in the parade, because you know, the Begging Parade Moms started getting too close to the cars so they could have a better advantage.  I wish I was exaggerating or lying to you, but I am telling the TRUTH.  At that point I said too loudly, “Kids, I will buy you candy instead of you getting run over by a car.  I don’t CARE what kids or ADULTS are doing, YOU will be safe.”  Of course, I wanted to say much worse things, but I held my tongue.  Personally, it was NOT about the candy, but the principle of how the ADULTS were behaving at a parade.

Once the parade was over, the kids were tired and cranky.  They had MORE THAN enough candy, and it was time to say good-byes to our favorite family.  As we walked to the vans, we all laughed at the behavior of others and decided that this was not a town where any of us wanted to live, but I think we knew that even before this experience.

As we drove home, Scott and I couldn’t stop chuckling about the TERRIBLE example other ADULTS were setting.  I said, “Well, it’s a great reminder to make sure WE behave.  If we see behavior in our kids that we don’t like, we should definitely look at our behavior first.  They copy what they see.”  Despite the fight for silly parade candy, we were with the M family today, and my spirit is restored again.  I hope I can see them sooner than later because I ALWAYS have a good time.

Imagine the conversation: “What are you doing?”
“Not much, just driving in a parade in a small town. How are you?”

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