Today was the First Ever/Annual Good Shepherd Block Ice Cream Party. What an amazing day. Some very astute, organized and creative Good Shepherdites organized a Serious good time for the neighborhood. I would say (by my own rough estimate after counting tickets and eye balling it) no less than 300 kids, parents, grandparents, and assorted hangers on came by our blocked off street and rode the ponies, had their faces painted, ate vats of ice cream, drank endless cups of orange sugared soda pop, picked up a free bicycle helmet, had their blood pressure checked, stopped for prayer with Matt (especially after having their blood pressure checked), picked up a balloon from the nice (unscary) clown, did a craft, listened to a spot of music, got entered into the child safety fingerprint registry, and watched the super cool police dog find drugs (heh).
There were floating balloons and streamers. There were hundreds and hundreds of cup cakes. There were So Many Children! And I thought I had a lot of kids.
And it couldn't have been timed more beautifully. Our eldest lovely grown up E, ('Daddy! Say, Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys, Here comes my Daughter', Daddy obliges, wild applause, long ballad-like singing ensues) will be six in the morning. She has organized to wear a blue flowery dress that makes her skin glow, and red shoes, as will her doll. She will go to church and Sunday School and then eat Peanut Sauce and Rice, Strawberries and chocolate birthday cake baked in the shape of a princess carriage. For games she will play hide and seek and then Everyone will paint little wooden princess castles ('what if the boys want to paint something else' I asked. 'They won't', she said, 'they will like to paint a castle'.). And then she will come home to a vast array of packages that I will then have to find a place for (Thank You, Mimi!).
I won't lie, I'm feeling all weepy and nostalgic. This is my first baby, my very first everything. I went into labor on a very hot Friday afternoon after our very First Funeral-a woman we had never met. We weren't even priested yet, still greenhorn deacons. I was wearing a horribly hot blue scratchy too short pregnant dress and heels. Matt had some weird scooped necked vestment with puffed sleeves and a cut in waist. He had to preach about how this nice lady was 'probably' (of course he didn't say that) being welcomed into the arms of Jesus (how would we know, we never met her). And I had to do the bulletin. My mother, who was mercifully with us, played the organ. Not thinking about the heat or the heels, I sprinted up and down the church back steps no less than 4 times trying to organize the service (ushers, pall bearers, who knows what else) which sent me gently into labor. But I was a week overdue, so it was probably a reasonable thing to do.
And she was such a perfect baby, ivory white, flower like hands, dark dark hair standing up all over the place, deeply sarcastic big gray eyes. And now she is long and strong and has whole chapters of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle before bed. She put on a show tonight, clutching her fat pink baby sister (I said she was strong). 'Daddy, say, Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys, here come my Daughters!' Then she had to sit down and she sang, 'Now I am six and things have to change around here, we have to help out and take care of babies and go to bed at the Right Time, and be obedient.'