Friday, January 1, 2010


This time of year is filled with traditions. The parties, the football games, the parades. Oh the parades. The biggest of them all is the Tournament of Roses Parade. Every year, we wake up on the first morning of the new year to gather around the tv and watch it with the kids. It's a parade that we have a little history with. One year, we helped decorate a float. And another year, we went to see it.

Tom and I decided to go watch the parade in person. I'm not quite sure what we were thinking, but we sure thought it was a good idea at the time. We ended up taking other people along too, those who thought it would be fun too - both his brothers and his best friend Paul. Here we were, a car full of teenagers, actually intending to sleep on the sidewalk overnight.

We got there and found a place to park, then walked for blocks before we found a piece of concrete not already claimed by sleeping bags and blankets. We set up camp for the night, and suddenly we felt terribly responsible for the safety and well being of TJ and Tim. It was, after all, back in the old days, long before any of us had cell phones. And we were sleeping on the side of the road.

It was cold and it was boring. After a few hours, Paul got too bored and decided he needed to go somewhere to do something - I'm not even sure where he went or what he did. All I know is that he took the car and didn't come back for a really long time. So now we were there, on the side of the road with two younger siblings, no phone and no car. Luckily for us, both Tim and TJ didn't seem phased by it and were able to just curl up in their sleeping bags and go to sleep. At least someone slept.

I don't think either one of us slept hardly at all that night. Paul showed back up at some point, and though Tom was annoyed that he'd been gone for so long, he was also glad the car was back. He was even more relieved that Paul was back.

After what seemed like forever, the sky started to lighten a bit and the sun finally rose. It was morning. We scooted over to watch the parade, only to have other people shove their way in front of us. Apparently, sleeping on the side of the street to see the parade means nothing to those who show up at the last minute. But by that point, we were too tired to care. We saw the parade, with an obstructed view of course, but we saw it.

On the way home that morning, I knew that Tom was going to be a good father someday. He had slept less than I had. He was worried about the car being gone, but he was worried about his friend more. And he was nervous about being responsible for his brothers out there.

What we originally thought would just be a fun thing to do - something that we could always say we had done - turned out to be a source of many good life lessons. Nights can last forever when you are worried about someone. Being accountable for other people is scary. Time spent waiting means nothing to rude people. And it's definitely worth it to buy tickets for the bleachers if we ever go see the parade again.

It was quite an adventure to see that parade all those years ago. But I didn't just see bands and floats that morning. I saw more. Much more.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't thought about that night in a long time, i've must of blocked the memory because i can't remember where i went or why...
    You were right about Tom
    Happy New Year


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