Monday, February 9, 2015

Focusing on the Good Stuff

Yesterday I went to a Mardi Gras parade with a few friends and our two toddlers.  It was a gorgeous New Orleans day (75 degrees in February?!?  I'll take it!) and we went down to the French Quarter with a wagon and the two tots to get our Barkus on.  The Krewe of Barkus is the Mardi Gras parade with marching bands, floats, beads, and all the fun you would expect at any New Orleans Mardi Gras parade - just with dogs (in costume of course).

Green Barkus dog.  Hopefully it washes out?

 It also required trudging through stop and go traffic, dealing with Mardi Gras parking, walking 12 blocks pulling a wagon and trying to navigate through the crowd to get a good spot - which we never really did.  We were late and weren't able to cross the parade route to meet up with friends we had planned to meet and it was hard to see anything (why are those dogs so short?!?).   I tried to bring FrenchFry up to the front a few times but he couldn't see in the Ergo on my back and he would cry if I tried to put him on my shoulders.  Frankly, he seemed a lot more interested in sitting in the wagon with his friend eating goldfish crackers than checking out the parade at all.

Mommy (Red) and Max on the parade route.

Sometimes it's hard for me to find a way to be truly present and just enjoy things like this.  I focus on all of the things that aren't going right and the expectations I had going in that are hard to live up to.  And now that I have FrenchFry, there is an added expectation that he have (unadulterated) fun as well.  That's not to say that we didn't have fun.  There were the great NOLA Mardi Gras moments in there like FrenchFry and his toddler friend rocking out to the marching band and us all getting our boogie on.  We got (much needed) sunshine and exercise and time in the beautiful French Quarter.  It's just so easy to focus on the things that didn't work out as planned sometimes as opposed to the brighter moments.  Or perhaps to focus on the epic toddler-who-missed-his-nap meltdown that resulted in me carrying a kicking and screaming kid 10 blocks back to our car.  (I really do feel bad for the strangers who came up to us hoping to distract him with their shiny beads because he was just NOT having it.)

Long after we were home (and the meltdown of all meltdowns had subsided) I was putting FrenchFry to bed.  He was playing with his multi-colored nightlight and I asked him:

Me: "Do you have a favorite color, FrenchFry?"

Max: "Uh, yeah!"

Me: "What is it?"

Max:  "Doggie parade!"

And it hit me.  We remember the Good Stuff.  He'll remember the Good Stuff.  And I need to continue to work on being present in the moment and just enjoy the it - not worry so much about the expectations I put on myself or the world around me.

Rockin' out.
If there is any place to really embody that philosophy it is New Orleans during Mardi Gras time.  And I thank my two year old for reminding me of that.  Next weekend is the big weekend of Mardi Gras and we will be hitting more parades and there will be more boogieing to be done. And we will get through the (inevitable) meltdowns and we will all remember the Good Stuff.


  1. I have to admit, I am a *tiny* bit gratified to see that actual Mardi Gras experience lines up with my expectations. When I see parade pictures, my first thought is usually something along the lines of "better you than me, sister!" But then, I might be the world's biggest indoor kid. More to the point, you're totally right--in your memories (and Max's), the good stuff will outshine the missed naps and bad parking! Happy Mardi Gras!

  2. Update: Saturday and Tuesday I truly had the unadulterated Mardi Gras experience I was looking for! We had a blast! :-)