Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Parades Are Fun (Yes, even the candy)!

Homecoming was last weekend.

The older my school age children become, the more they love homecoming. 

Festivities start early in the morning with a can of bright red hairspray and an '80s - inspired ponytail.  The girls don their finest school spirit apparel and repeatedly tell me to hurry up with my morning coffee because they don't want to miss a thing.

The fun day at school includes a pep rally and a contest for the most school spirit.  As soon as the end of the day bell rings, the girls scramble into the carpool and ask if we are going straight to the parade.   My youngest daughter who is always prepared (I love this about her by the way) asks if I remembered to bring a bag to catch all of the parade candy.

Yes, my two children who have Type 1 Diabetes, are going to be collecting parade candy.

Remember in our house, it is kids first, diabetes second. 

Inwardly I grimace because for the most part, the parade candy is just a bunch of junk; taffy, lollipops, sugary gum, tootsie rolls that look like they were smooshed well before they were thrown, and the stray hard candy that no one recognizes.  Who really wants to eat any of that?


It took me a few years post diagnosis to understand this:

It is not about eating the candy, it is about making the memories. 

My girls love parades because they are exciting, thrilling and fun!  Candy is flying at them and people are cheering and waving.  The environment shifts to one much like a party.  Parades happen rarely and they know this.  They want to take advantage of being there, in the moment, reveling with all of the party-goers, coming away with a victory bag of candy and ultimately making memories.

Standing back a few steps, I watch my daughters.  They are smiling and clapping at the silly floats.  They ooh and aaah over the beautiful girls in their homecoming clothes.  In a blink, they quickly jump like ninjas and manage to grab fists of candy from the sidewalk to stuff in their plastic bag. 

Then they turn towards me and give a big hug, "Thanks Mom!  This is the best day ever!"

And that is why parades are fun, even with all of the candy.

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