Saturday, July 06, 2013

2nd Wins 1st on the 4th

Back in 1980 when I was a wee lass, my mother delighted in entering me in as many baby parades as possible.  For my first 4th of July parade in Philadelphia, my wagon float had signs to show that I was "The Littlest Pilgrim" who was "Newly Arrived from Massachusetts," which was indeed true, since I made my debut just a few months before in Boston. 

I came in 6th place that year, although you'd never know it.  By the way my parents have fondly spoken about this event, I might as well have come in 1st place.  :)

I wore only a pilgrim hat, belt, and a diaper.  My float was our extended family's 1964 wagon (which had been passed around between the kids), and my mom decorated it with patriotic pride and immense love.

Earlier this week, my mother got the brilliant idea that we ought to re-create this family tradition by entering little Liam into our town's baby parade, using the same theme and props.  To the Archives she went, and out she came with this:

Note the identical "Littlest Pilgrim" sign.  It's absolutely flawless!

Our 1964 Radio Flyer wagon was graced once again! 

Liam would be the second generation to attempt a win with this theme and float on the 4th of July.  This time, though, to fit the parade's category requirement of "American heroes," we named the little pilgrim.  He'd be the famous Myles Standish, albeit sitting.

Sit he did.  And cute he looked.

Into the wagon float he went, and Mommy and Daddy had immense fun taking turns pulling or following him as we went.  As the crowd erupted with applause, laughed, pointed, nudged one another, and took photographs, I began to taste the sweet joy of why my mother insisted on this baby parade in the first place: It feels amazing when you're the proud parent.  And she wanted me to feel that joy.  (Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this, Mom.)

Liam quickly got the hang of things.  He smiled big, looked right and then left, waved each of the little flags that my mother stuck in his hands, and wore that homemade pilgrim hat with pride.


When the parade was over, we gathered under a tree, awaiting the judges' announcement of who would be first, second, or third.  And while we waited, we took pictures.  My parents, Michael's parents, Great Aunt Tess, Great Uncle Fred, and Great Grandma were all present.

I reminded Mom that winning wasn't necessary; we had already achieved our goal of re-creating a family tradition, and we had the pictures to prove it.  :)

But then the announcements began.  And we all got a little nervous.

In the category of Most Creative, we did not get third.  We did not get second.  But, oh-my-gosh, WE GOT FIRST!!!  WE GOT FIRST!!!

Our boy earned his first blue ribbon!!

"First place goes to Liam Goddard!" the announcer exclaimed, and it echoed throughout the park, despite the loud cheers that erupted.  Hearing his name name announced over the loud speaker like that made me marvel again at the miraculous simplicity of how a new person is brought into this world.  Our love and a trip to the hospital, and here he is:  a unique person, already leaving his mark on this world.  It was impossible to tell which one of us was most proud.

Our 2nd generation attempt won 1st place on the 4th of July.  And this was all possible because of my wonderful mother!!  Thank you, Mom!