There's something odd about Mardi Gras parades. (Okay, there's a lot odd about them, but...) I find them quite fun, and as Jen pointed out in the comments about the parade we attended last week, we have really embraced this whole thing. True, in a lot of respects. But sometimes it's hard to stand there and realize that we're on the side of the road begging for a bunch of plastic beads and cheap stuffed animals that will end up in a closet and, at a later date, will be given away to visiting friends and family. I'll even pay to get rid of the stuff, mailing it to friends and family across the world.
(It must be noted that the May Queen is happily sleeping with several new stuffed animals she caught today, and will play with them for quite some time to come. She does also play with the beads...)
We try to be frugal. We try to teach the May Queen to not ask for and expect gifts. We are careful about excess at Christmas and other gift giving occasions. But put us on a parade route and we encourage her to aim for all the loot she can get.
You get swept up in the moment. In the culture. In the expectation.
There's more to it, of course. The parties beforehand are a great time to get together with friends and eat wonderful food. There's a whole social aspect to it that is becoming more and more my favorite part of the parades.
Sometimes I just stand back and wonder at it all. It defies simple explanation.
But I know that there is joy in my daughter's eyes. There are smiles on our faces. I know that there is community and friendship and, of course, food.
And I know that in my guest room closet there is a box of beads that weighs more than I.
This Monday's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a sign (street sign, business sign, airport sign... you decide...)