Who doesn't love a parade?
We adore our neighborhood parade -- and all the more this year because the dreadful drought our area is experiencing forced cancelation of ALL fireworks. And what is the Fourth of July without fireworks?
(Yes, that cute little puppy we bought six months ago is now a 44-lb-and-growing canine wonder.)
Our parade has everything you could want (well, almost -- no marching band.)
Costumed drummers -- check.
A contest with ample categories for many winners -- check.
Uniformed scouts carrying flags and leading the Pledge -- check.
Highly inclusive participation -- check.
A very short distance to walk in the morning heat -- check.
We also have little speeches from the major and other city dignitaries, a bit of patriotic singing, recognition of veterans, and free ice cream.
And, honesty compels me to admit ... my girls, to their great joy and my great shock, actually won first place in the "Bike Group" division. Which proves that sometimes, it really is worth it to run through Target at 8:45 p.m., scooping up any and all pathetic decoration material that's left.
Sometimes -- like when I'm running through Target and it's my third store of the night to visit and I'm tired from a long plane flight home -- I'd rather just stay home and say "Can we skip it this year, girls? Can we just watch the parade from the sidelines?"
But we do so much as parents that feels like drudgery. The chores -- just the ones to keep everyone clean and fed -- repeat ad infinitum. The reminders, the teaching and training in good habits, the correction of behavior, the attempts to corral and organize -- these will always be with us. They're necessary, sure, but they do drain our Family Fun Bank. Not so conducive to the crafting of happy memories.
So yes, the special breakfasts, the simple decorations, the craft projects, the little extras -- they require a few drops of effort and imagination, often when we least feel the urge. But they need not be elaborate (trust me on this!) to pay big dividends right back into that Bank.
And don't we all need a little cushion now and then?