Friday, June 15, 2007

Raining on Our Parades

Front-row seats for the Junior Rose Parade

We commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Portland Rose Festival by attending not one but two parades. Chris marched in the Junior Rose Parade, the largest children’s parade in the country. He played his snare drum in the band and in spite of last-minute challenges finding a snare drum harness, he had a great time marching in the 2-mile parade. We were on the sidelines cheering him on while Mike marched with the kids and a few other parents. The downpour didn’t start until about ½ hour AFTER the parade.

Laurie, Bev, and Matthew enjoying the parade
Grandpa and Nicholas (sleeping through his 2nd parade)

The Maplewood recorder group and marching band

Our little drummer boy

Then we decided to brave the inclement weather (it wasn’t raining when we left home) and went to the Grand Floral Parade on Saturday morning. Some NICU graduate family friends have a tradition of attending the parade and go to great lengths to tape the sidewalk the day before. Poor Charlene had to defend her tape against the tape- and chair-freeing renegade army this year. It’s always a great opportunity to catch up with them and marvel at how much all of our kids have grown.

This year we enjoyed seeing Charlene’s cousin-in-law and her two kids, one of whom (Madelyn) was our inspiration when Chris was in the NICU. We met Madelyn’s parents when Chris was just a month or 2 old, and at the time there were no other micropreemies in the NICU. To see a 1-year-old NICU graduate who looked like she doing great was such a beacon of hope for us. Meeting with her parents, Marie and Andrew, inspired us to find a way to help other families when we finally left the NICU. We hadn’t seen Maddie for a few years, and it was amazing to see how much she and Chris not only look alike, but their personalities are also very alike. (They both read 10 to 12 books at once, for example!)
Photos below of our miracle kids: 1. Maddy, Kelsey's brother Kristopher, and Chris; 2. Kelsey watching the parade
One of the more spectacular floats with a ring of fire
We enjoyed the parade, but we got thoroughly soaked in the rain, and would have enjoyed it more if we had been able to stay dry! The best part was seeing Maddy and Kelsey, another preemie, whose parents had been told she would never speak. As soon as we walked up to her, she said to me, clear as a bell: “Hi Marie!” In spite of Kelsey’s very rough first several years—she had a tracheotomy and couldn’t speak or eat until she was seven or eight—she is an inspiration!
Soaked and ready for the parade to be over so we can go home!

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