When a parade turns into a road race
On Friday evening, scrambling as usual, I made my way from downtown Saratoga Springs to Ballston Spa so my daughter could ride on a float with her Pop Warner cheerleading squad in the high school's homecoming parade. With the arrival time at the parade's starting point firmly cemented in my brain as 5:45 p.m., I left work at 5:25 (a.k.a. the last possible second) and called my husband to have him meet us at the parking lot by the football field where the parade would end.
We could pile into one vehicle and ride over to the other side of the village. He could just leave us his truck to take home when we got to that end. Bonus for him: I would take both kids (my son wanted to walk with me) so he could go home and get the woodstove going. Brilliant, right? Well, I thought so — until the my plan completely unraveled, that is.
Of course, I didn't get there until 5:45, and then we had to high-tail it to the staging area. My husband dropped us off about a block away, and the kids and I rounded the corner onto the main parade route and started jogging up the hill, only to realize something was definitely wrong.
"Look, there's already some candy on the ground!" (Clue No. 1.)
"Why is our meeting spot completely void of people?" (Clue No. 2.)
Did the parade get cancelled? I checked my BlackBerry — no texts or e-mails to that effect.
"Just call the coach," my son pleaded, as we stood on the sidewalk looking down the hill at the parade route, traffic flowing normally. When I reached her, I could hear the girls in the background doing a cheer. They were already on the backside of the route. The parade started at 5:45. We were supposed to meet at 5:15.
Daggers came out of my daughter's eyes as I relayed the information. "You ruined this for me!"
Instead of launching into a tirade of how ungrateful they are for all the insanity I endure to get them to everything they want to do, I just started running. I shot a look back at them, "Let's go then."
So we booked — all the way down the main drag of Ballston Spa, across Route 67 and up to McMaster Street. We ran the whole way, with the kids grabbing candy off the ground and shoving it in their pockets as we went. "That's one good thing about this, Mom," my daughter said. "We get to pick up the leftover candy!"
And I was one step closer to being forgiven. I also was relishing how awesome my kids are at adapting when faced with such a situation. No one was whining about the running, or being cold or hot or thirsty.
When we arrived at the end of the route for the parade, which we managed to miss in its absolute entirety, they both wanted to stay for the football game. So we strategically spent the 6 bucks I had in my pocket at the concession stand and found a seat with some of my daughter's cheer-pals.
We ended up staying until half-time. My son loved watching the high school football players, and my daughter had a ball doing cheers with her two friends who stayed to watch the game. (She was also super cool for having candy to share with her friends.)
So in the end, I believe all was forgiven. It's certainly not the last time I'll mess something up. My kids probably just need to get used to it — if they aren't already.