I want you to remember this face. Doesn't she look happy?
I should've seen it coming.
After all, I've been a mother for nearly a decade and am fairly familiar with the behavioral patterns of and triggers for each of my children.
But it just sounded like so much good, old-fashioned, American fun that I couldn't possibly pass it up.
You see, we spent a lovely 4th of July with my sister and her family out of town.
There are few things more fantastic in the eyes of my children than hanging out with their super cool cousins.
The guys had a 7:10AM tee time for a round of golf the morning of the 4th (and incidentally, I was corrected today that they did not play a "game" of gold, but rather a "round" of golf. This is very important.)
Anyway, this left my sister and me in charge of the kiddos and in need of something fun to do with them.
We were in luck!
A 4th of July Parade?! Fantastic! SO cute and such a great photo op!
American kids celebrating the freedom they enjoy in this grand country of ours.
The kids got busy decorating their scooters, bikes, and wagon.
They were pretty excited. They'd never been IN a parade before! This would be spectacular!
We got everyone situated and started out to where the parade would begin its route.
There were so many people! Adorable babies decked out in patriotic outfits and sweet little blue-eyed,
blonde haired kiddos all over the place. Flags were being waved by the patriotic little maniacs and we could hardly wait to begin.
There was only one problem, really.
The fact that it was like a thousand degrees outside at 10am.
No matter. The parade was about to start and our little procession would be happy once we got moving. Not to worry. There were a couple minor objections from the riders of wagons and bikes, but overall everyone was still smiling and happy.
Finally, the parade began. My sister and I breathed a sigh of relief because we were about to have a mutiny on our hands if things didn't get rolling soon. And not just our make-up rolling down our faces, either.
We happily began the proud procession with a firetruck leading the way. People were waving and laughing and I was even humming all the patriotic songs I know (does Neil Diamond's "We're Coming to America" count?)
I was feeling very American and very proud of my babies celebrating our nation's birthday.
It was downright touching.
My first hint that things were about to take an ugly turn occurred on the first block of the parade.
I saw a young girl, maybe four years old, standing on the curb with her daddy. She was shrieking that she wanted to leave and she WANTED HER MOMMY!!! Poor daddy was doing his best to remind her that parades are fun, but she was having none of it.
My little company just looked at her quietly and continued moving forward.
We were right behind this kid, who I later decided had the right idea:
He was driving a Mustang, for pete's sake! No extra effort being exerted needlessly here. He was sporting sunglasses and likely had a cooler with snacks and drinks for the road in the passenger seat.
The parade continued.
Things began unraveling rather quickly from here.
Even my nephew, who had opted for his electric scooter, was rapidly losing his patriotic passion.
It was just so dang hot.
Soon they refused to even look at me for a picture.
This was all my fault, after all.
Mothers will understand this phenomenon.
You plan something fun for your kids. You go out of your way to do something special for them. They are excited and sing your praises as the best mom in the world.
But before you know it, they are giving you the evil eye and have categorized you with the likes of the most horrid human beings throughout history.
Torturers in disguise, we mothers are.
Why, oh why, had I wanted to ruin my daughters' lives by forcing them to be in this stupid parade?
I began to notice that the only children still smiling were those riding in golf carts.
They were kinda looking at us like we were schmucks.
Then, mercifully, my sister pointed us in the direction of a shortcut where we could discreetly exit the parade and beat the crowd to the snow cone truck.
This qualified as "beating the crowd", believe it or not.
We stood there for ten minutes without moving an inch. We were being baked like potatoes out on that black asphalt.
Within minutes, even the promise of a snow cone was not enough.
Remember that face I showed you at the beginning of the story?
Thirty minutes later, that face looked more like this.
She was done. Patriotism was seriously overrated in her book.
We decided to ditch the snow cone idea and just head back to the house.
There were bikes with red, white, and blue streamers, flags, and banners strewn all over the place.
It was like a patriotic parade graveyard.
Little patriots had just abandoned their vehicles. Parents everywhere were lugging tricycles and scooters while also holding sweaty, slippery little kids. There was crying, whining, and declarations of independence from EVER having to be in an Independence Day parade again.
I'm pretty sure the kid in the Mustang and the kids enjoying a leisurely ride in their golf carts were laughing at the rest of us commoners.
We made it back home to the sweet relief of air conditioning, and my middle one just couldn't possibly take another step. She army crawled like this all the way to the kitchen where we put cool, life giving water to her parched lips.
So Happy 4th of July, people.
Next year, we'll just watch the fireworks show on PBS and wave our little handheld flags from the comfort and ease of our cool homes. It's not that we mothers aren't patriotic, it's just that we want to be around to celebrate future years of our freedom, and our children might murder us if we pull this one on them again.