Last night was the annual Parade of Lights and Community night in our town. Thanks to a newly formed committee, WeGAS, the town was decked out and alive with Christmas spirit. It seemed so nice after last year's dismal display which is what prompted the committee to form.
Earlier in the afternoon we had taken The Toots to see Santa at the Fire Station. She thought he was pretty good and naturally we captured the moment on film, well, technically a memory disk, for posterity.
I was freaking out that Santa, who was definitely getting along in years and looked a tad peaked, might drop her. The fire chief, Marc, teased me quite a bit about it but I noticed he had given the word to the other people helping out to make sure Tessie was safe. And the icing on the cake was that The Bean showed up and, under the guise of having a photo taken with Tessie and Santa, was at the ready to catch Tessie should a mishap occur. Of course, everything was fine and Santa had a firm grip so all's well that ends well there.
Anyway, back to the parade. Dad came and helped get The Toots into the van and Ann had already scoped out and saved a prime spot for us to park downtown. She pulled out and I went to pull in and nearly took out the truck parked next to us. Dad was just a bit nervous and was totally over-reacting and back seat driving while I reversed, nearly hit the car behind me, shouted to Dad that everything was under control, swung back in and did the same thing. Again. Dad was shaking his head and muttering while I hopped out and said, "You do it!". My brother, who happened to be standing nearby watching this all with what appeared to me to be a little bit of disgust at my driving skills, hopped in and in a single motion parked the stupid van. Easy Peasy. Whatever.
And just so you know, I am a great driver. Never had an accident or even a parking ticket. Just sayin'.
So we get all settled and wait for the parade to begin. Dad and Ann went across the street into the stores to socialize. The Toots and I stayed in the van. It was too much hassle and too cold to take her out so there we sat. And I might as well be honest here. It sucked. It was so depressing sitting alone with Tessie and watching all the 'normal' families and their kids excitedly running around. I wish I could just get over it but things like that still sucker punch me. The whole "what-should-have-beens" kick in and the feeling sorry for myself covers me like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. It is almost an ache that you can't quite pinpoint. Except you can. It is heartache.
Then my mom hopped in and distracted me from my doldrums. A very good thing. Then Ann showed up with a cookie for me. A very great thing. And then the parade started.
It was cute and fun and Tessie, who was up front and sitting on my lap really seemed to be enjoying it which really helped my ache ease up a bit. Then the GLEE Club float came by.
It was awesome. Of course, having Blake be a member might make me a teensy bit prejudiced, but I thought they were great. They stopped in front of the judges and sang and danced for everyone. They were laughing and singing and dancing and it just made you feel warm all over to see such a good group of kids having so much good, clean fun.
But they were facing away from us. Oh well, I was still grinning ear to ear and felt so much better after seeing them. The rest of the parade went by and came back through again for the final time.
This time the GLEE kids stopped directly in front of my van and performed all over again. Facing us. They were singing and dancing to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" and when they sang that part they changed the "you" to "Tessie". Can we all say "AWWWWWWW??" They did this just for Tessie. I was so happy and proud of these kids. They totally embodied what the Christmas Spirit is all about...putting yourself out there to make someone else happy. And boy did they.
And to top it off, after they sang they ALL ran over to the van's window where Tessie was to say "Hi" to her and a very special "I love you Tessie" from awesome big sister, Blake.
I know Tessie felt the love from them all. I could literally feel her shaking in my arms which is what she does when she is super excited. Then, after they were gone, she gave a big chuckle.
And I forgot about feeling sorry for myself and for Tessie. I forgot that we weren't 'normal'. I forgot that Tessie wasn't out running around like all the other kids.
Thanks to Jessie and her young proteges, Tessie and I were both totally GLEEful...