It was somehow already 9pm and even with Oak already knocked out for the night from they day’s events, River took his/our suggestion for sleep with a grain of salt. She had napped on time that day, she had eaten dinner, bathed, played and played some more, but the excitement of the next day kept her awake. Of course, this is my account of the events and I’m not 100% sure of what really kept her bouncing around our space that Thanksgiving eve. But some things, even without verbal communication, parents just know. I knew that even though she didn’t fully comprehend what would take place the next day, she knew something major was going to happen. And unlike my usual straight faced self at her bedtime refusal, I was a puddle. I let her bounce and play until she could no longer, because I was just as excited, if not more.
My alarm went off at 5:45 am and my favorite Biggie song pulled me from my burial of blankets. I grabbed for Peter’s right shoulder and excitedly said, ” Happy Thanksgiving babe! How tired are you?” “Not at all.” He replied. I knew then and there our morning would be epic. His words alone solidified it. I knew he was either lying to keep my spirits high, or he was actually feeling the joy of what was ahead, despite having only slept for four hours or so.
I was reminded of my childhood that morning. It was kind of the same shameless excitement I would wake up with way too early in the morning before school. I would wake up at 6 am to the sound of my alarm clock and to the sound of my mother already preparing for her day. Back then, music was still there to start my day off in a joyous way. Back then, it was the morning MTV videos that played from sun up until late morning. Almost every morning I listened to the same few videos while brushing my big ol’ pony tail puff, and trying on various pairs of jeans until I found one that made my butt look good. Teenage priorities ya’ll. Oak woke up first, followed by River. The toast popped out of the toaster, we bundled up, and we were on our way to the parade.
We ditched the stroller and opted to baby wear to help fight the crowds on our way up to the Wayfarer in midtown. I had threw on my best New Yorker game face to help ward off any aggravation we would receive. This is the face that my husband and most of my friends are a bit cared of, and I can’t blame them. With kids in hand and what ifs in mind, I’m sort of a beast. Blame being raised here. It’s to be expected right? We were met with a crowd as we exited 57th and 6th, but surprisingly we made our way through. Oak had slept on the train and River was astonished by the crowds, and more by the idea of seeing Chica in person. When we arrived at the event, there was music playing, a photo booth set up, and a hot breakfast laid out buffet style to stuff us early risers. The Wayfarer was decked out in The Sunny Side Up Show decor and everyone had a smile on despite the early hours. We settled on a spot for eating, sitting and nursing right under the large window upstairs. Across from us outside, there happened to be a few parade watching parties in a dentist office of some sort. Below us; couples cuddled, and a few relativity empty VIP sections were waiting to be filled.
The fleet of police arrived first. Then the hundreds, but what seemed like thousands of cheerleaders (were there thousands?) skipped and chanted their way on down and the crowd roared in anticipation. We sat with our faces pressed against the window. We were sure we had the best seats in the place, and I think everyone agreed.
Thomas the train arrived, then Hello Kitty, and so many others. We all looked on and continued to scream like a bunch of boy band fans as each one arrived. Sometimes the kids would look on in silence and us moms would still scream to their confusion. I would look over occasionally at Peter and there was this huge smile of pure pride and joy plastered across his face. I couldn’t help but look at him holding our baby boy, and at our daughter, and be filled with such happiness. Really, it sounds cliche, but I was just so overjoyed.
The snow came down and Santa made his way on down too, and I kept whispering to Peter, “Isn’t this magical!” I felt like a kid in the best way possible. For a moment there, any hurt, disappointment, or stress from the world my heart and mind had held was diminished. I was wrapped in the city’s energy. But most importantly, I was wrapped in my family’s joy.