I’m not big on parades. I’m not freaked out by clowns or marching bands and such. I don’t have issues with large groups of people or cotton candy. Horses and costumes don’t send me into an uncontrollable cycle of hand washing. At the same time, I still think our local parade this time of year is a pretty big deal and something our family at least checks out on TV for a few minutes. It’s usually pretty tough to ignore the event and be oblivious to it. But here it was the weekend of the Rose Festival parade and I literally didn’t even know until the next day when I saw it in the Oregonian. Having a sick kid will do that to you.
Ella started feeling rotten on Friday and we knew it was not your average cold when she didn’t feel up to going camping in Central Oregon this weekend. She had been excited about the trip for the last couple weeks and it was a real disappointment for her that we had to change plans. I think she takes after my wife – she loves all things outdoors whether it be camping, hiking, fishing etc. And, like my wife, she has to be really miserable to give up plans and lay around the house, resting up. So here came Saturday with us cuddled up on the couch watching The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for the second time. The parade was taking place but wasn’t even on our radar screen. After lots of movies, books and intermittent napping, we finally broke down and took Ella in on Sunday to see if she had strep throat or the Nigerian whooping tsetse cough.
Medical technology is amazing. With a quick swab and a computer hooked up to an electronic sensor, we were able to find out quickly that our daughter did indeed have strep. A few doses of antibiotics later and our daughter is back to feeling her normal self. Amazing.
I have a firm conviction that nothing motivates people like a sick child. We all want our children to thrive, to have opportunities and to live rich and fulfilling lives. I can’t imagine anything more debilitating than a serious illness or disease. In Ella’s brownie troop, one of her friends was diagnosed last year with cancer and she is literally struggling for her life on a regular basis. I can’t even imagine what this must be like for her parents and family.
Next year when the parade takes its inevitable journey down Broadway I’m going to make plans to check it out with Ella and JJ. I think it’s high time for a change of attitude on my part and to see the parade as a celebration of the city, the beginning of summer and more importantly a celebration for our children.
Pass the cotton candy, I’m in.