Last night was our little towns holiday parade. We have gone since we moved here and loved it every time. It has embodied what I love so much about Gilroy…its intimate and simple, made for kids and a just a touch cheesy!
When we were told there was a possibility JLK could be the grand marshal I was more than a little excited. We waited to talk to her much about it until we got a better idea on if we thought she would be up for it. When we told her she was really jazzed about it. We didn’t know at first if her brothers would be able to be in the parade…but the committee made that happen also. The plan was all the boys would ride in the parade right before the sleigh and throw candy. Another night for our boys to look back on as a good memory for them during this time so full of the awful…
We got there and saw Santas sleigh. We had found out a few days before that the girls and I would be riding in HIS sleigh. It even had a great big sign with her name and our website on it. She was so excited and a tad bit nervous to meet him…(again!). It was freezing cold here. We borrowed a pink jacket for her since the brown one I had wasn’t right…but she went without it. I think she wanted the perfect ensemble for her big night. Luckily we talked her into wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt under her dress and she grabbed her sparkly gold ear muffs. And of course her sparkly pink super hero cape!
We all went back to meet the big guy and our kids sat in the sleigh with him. Even though she knew this was her deal, she never once questioned sharing the time with her brothers. I think she enjoyed getting to see them interact with Santa. They even had a photographer there for us…I will say thats such a great gift for me. To have somebody else take over with the picutres so I don’t have to worry about capturing the moments on film.
Then it was show time and JLK got to go up front with Santa. She was absouluely beaming.. getting to be up top…with him. Her smile was magical. She is such a trooper throghout all of this. But looking back on her face – right then – I realize how much this is taking a toll on her…this time though she forgot and was just feeling like the luckiest 6yr old in the whole wide world.
There was room for the rest of us to sit in the back of the sleigh together! Around the same time somebody noticed one of the tires was flat. But this worked perfectly for us. Tony isn’t much into the spotlight…He was doing this for the kids. To make it a extra memorable night for them…and me..But with the flat he was able to jump in front and pull his family (and Santa).
This is an perfect example of how hard this journey can be on a marriage. Tony had a picture in his head of watching all of his girls in the parade on the sidelines with his boys. But this wasn’t the picture I had in my head…coming together to find a balance between our wants/needs and those of the kids is not easy. But we are working on it…every day.
I sat with my boys and my baby behind Jennifer…watching Santa lean in and talk to her. Knowing she was beaming. And I started to think maybe Tony was right….Maybe this would be too much for me and I wasn’t able to see her. I am so used to being right with her at all times. Knowing everything that is going on.. Its hard for me not to be in the know.
Our boys, Jonathan especially and very surprsingly were grinning ear to ear. Getting right up to the start of the parade he was praciticing his wave and yelling Merry Christmas. I was very proud of him and glad I got to have this moment to share together. So few of my memories right now are including my boys. To get to make this nights with him was special.
We got going and I heard people cheering..mostly for Santa…but then I would hear her name. Somebody that knows us cheering for our daughter. One time early on one in particular struck me. A mom from my local moms group cheering…I caught her eye and as we rode away I heard her yell with tears in her voice…”we love you Kranzs” I can’t really explain…But in the sleigh throwing candy…watching her wave …seeing Jonathans grin…and hearing the love the wall started to crumble.
I haven’t been crying…like at all lately. Even when I journal. The emotion and the want to cry is there but it isnt coming out. But sitting there my ears and eyes overwhelmed….it started to come to me again. Finally nearing the end I saw a very good friend and I cried. Not a lot..just a few tears…but it was the start of the drop back down into the pain.
Of the reality that my 6 yr old is the grand marshal because this will likely be her last parade. What will next year be like? Will we be able to go? It would be so unfair to the other kids if we don’t…but how will Christmas ever be Merry again?
Then we rode to where the tree was so JLK (her brothers if they wanted) could light the tree. Getting out in the crowd with the kids I was a bit overwhelmed…so many people and I felt like I could collapse and cry. So thankful for my small town because right there, getting out I saw a familiar face and was able to hand baby Charlotte off and get the boys up to the stage.
Jennifer was already up there. I could see now she was nervous…her father’s daughter not enjoying the spotlight so much. But she held tight to her Santa and was able to manage. She caught sight of me and Jonathan and then was fully relaxed when he joined her on stage. Our kids are amazing…the way they work and love together. To see the pair of them…in front of our town lighting the tree. 8 weeks ago I never could have imagined this….I never wanted to imagine this.
A friend just emailed me…reminding me of how the month before she started kindergarten I so desperately wanted to stop time. How perfect it was for me with my 4 kids home with me all day long and I had the best of all worlds…How often I said I loved our ideal family and life….
Then it was quiet…her job was done. Finally she let me wrap a blanket around her to walk back to our car. We came home and rubbed feet and hands to warm each other back up. And we laughed and goofed and re-hashed the night together. The laugh of the unbelievable…still unsure if what they had just experienced was all real or just a fantasy in their heads.
Dreams that they never even knew they had…came true.