4th of July Parades

Last year we missed the Lakewood Neighborhood Parade. I don’t recall if we woke up late, had a napping 1.5 year old, or maybe that the parents were just exhausted and didn’t want to deal with “the parade folks”. But that was a mistake.

This year we made it to the starting line of the parade about 30 minutes before the grand marshal set sail. Or drive.

Strolling along in the big stroller, Emerson was thinking this parade would be more like her parade from school. A few classes full of children marching in the hot sun for about 10 minutes in front of doting parents oohing and awing as “Proud to be an American” blasted from the mono-speaker in the corner. At the end, there were popsicles and napkins. Lots of both.

So as Emerson was expecting maybe a grape popsicle and 10  minutes of marching Cub Scouts and Brownies, she was in for a whole lot more.

We found a cozy spot on the curb of the street and parked in there. An older woman clad in sun-covering gardening clothes sat next to me, cooing over our little girl. To our right was another couple in the nearby neighborhood who actually brought a blanket, lawn chairs and a bag to catch candy. They were clearly veterans of the Lakewood Parade.

Droves of regular humans, tiny humans, motorized vehicles of old and new, bicycles, tricycles, mopeds, boats, cross-dressers, costumed-superheros, and even Santa passed by showering us with varies Halloween candy favorites. It was a little confusing to mix so many holidays, but we definitely enjoyed our morning.

The sun roasted us all as the parade lingered. The coffee went from delicious to unnecessary. Champagne next year. Or water. Whatever.

Our cache of sweets full of tootsie pops, smarties, laffy taffy and a myriad of others, we called it a day soon after the police escort allowed.

Besides being a ton of fun seeing our little girl enjoy “Happy Birthday America”, it was also a great observation of parenting. Once the elderly couple left, the late-comers moved in on our turf. As the three young moms let their children traverse into the streets of Lakewood, I got more and more nervous. When the parade cars are veering further to one side of the pedestrian-lined streets than the other, you should probably notice it’s because they’re trying to avoid your street urchins called children. The longer it went on, the less of the parade we could see as the sea of people sprawled further out and wider across.

Manners. Teach them. Safety. Observe it. Emerson sat like a good child and ate her smarties out of her little red cup. Another good parenting day.

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