The ceremony, the precision, the patriotism.
Uniforms, rhythm, flash and sparkle. What's not to love?
(If you ask Miss Kate, she'd say that clowns are not to love. "Noni? Please warn me if a clown comes to talk to me." Noni warned.)
For six years I was in marching band, so I was especially goosebumpy when the schools marched by. Plumed hats at attention, white shoes gliding along the pavement, instruments catching the flash of sunlight overhead.
But the most exciting part about this year's parade is that my Bethie took part.
Her gymnastics team sparkled, twirled and tumbled down the main drag, and it was beautiful. She looked so tall and stately. So confident and poised. My girl.
We screamed and waved. She beamed and waved back.
But that wouldn't do. I knew there would be other friends and family members along the route to cheer her on. She could do this one without me.
So I let her pass by. I reveled in the moment, hastily wiped a tear and returned to the other children. Children who had blue popsicle tongues and sticky hands and bags full of candy.
They, too, will have their moments to sparkle and shine.
Moments where I'll watch and let them pass me by. I won't be able to follow.