I for one have never really liked parade watching. There is the pageantry of it, the marching bands, the civic leagues, the community pride, the patriotism, the old cars and floats, but I was always mystified why parades were so popular. I even went to the NYC Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade and although that one was very entertaining, I had to stand in one place in a crowd for so long my feet grew so numb that I couldn’t walk afterwards. Crowds are just not my scene. Particularly St. Patrick’s Day parades. I’ll never forget my first St. Patrick’s Day taking the train into NYC and there being insanely drunk people swaying in the aisles and getting kicked off the train at 8am! But the things you will do for your child…I found myself at another St. Patrick’s Day parade this year.
Parades are entirely different now from the perspective of a parent watching their child watch a parade. To a child, parades are the most incredulous sight to see. Through their eyes, every act, every sound, every sight is one of awe and wonder. The simplest floats, or musical notes, or firetruck, or musician is deemed amazing. Parades are the most wide-eyed, jaw dropping events in their limited experience. Seeing the parade through the eyes of my child made it fun. But what stood out even more were the random acts of kindness displayed towards my son that gladdened my heart. The morning of the parade was dreary, and it began to rain, and of course we weren’t prepared. We arrived an hour early to stake out a spot along the route, and I wasn’t looking forward to being miserably cold and wet the whole time, but I was prepared to tough it out for the sake of my son’s enjoyment. A resident who lived along the parade route came out of her house and offered me the shelter of her umbrella. I was so grateful and touched by this. When the parade began, she sat outside without an umbrella to shelter her. This made her personal sacrifice so much more meaningful to me.
Parades are known for candy throwing, and there were three elementary aged children right beside us who had come armed with plastic bags for stashing all their loot, which they got. They were so aggressive, calling out to the parade participants and leaping in the street, for anything free, that we began to be overshadowed by them. My 19 month old was too awe-struck to shout and draw any attention to himself, but it seemed that the participants were in tune to the littlest parade watchers, and they seemed to single him out. He got plenty of candy, and beaded necklaces, and plastic toys, but the one gesture that stood out was right after a herd of puppies paraded by, a lady held out a small stuffed puppy straight to my son, and in disbelief that it could actually be his, he slowly clutched the puppy dog as if it were real. I thanked her and it was this small gesture that made my day. Earlier we had seen the parade carts full of chachkies (definition: yiddish word for trinkets and collectables…Tchotchke…a small piece of worthless crap, a decorative knick knack with little or no purpose). My husband and I are much too thrifty to buy “worthless crap” but now that we have a child, it entices us to want to give him things that will bring joy. Of course marketers capitalize on this parental desire. But we knew the items were way overpriced and poorly made. Still, it pulled on my mama’s heart not to indulge him…so when that stuffed puppy dog was gifted just to him, it was a tiny gesture full of enormous meaning.
- What “worthless crap” have you been tempted to indulge in for your child(ren) and when has it paid off?
- What does the following verse mean to you as a parent? “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”~Matthew 7:12
What random act of kindness could you do today?