when it rains on your parade…


As a child, I was a lovely little dancer (although I know you don’t believe that after witnessing my daily dance parties) with a penchant for tutus, tap shoes and jazz hands. It was my thing. My oldest sister was the smart one, middle sister was the athletic one, and I was the artistic one. Dancing suited me well.*

And although I adored the performance and spotlight of it all, my very favorite aspect of dancing was the county fair parade float I was allowed to ride atop every summer, representing a small crop of future toe-touching guys and dolls across America. There was something so magical about the Dum-Dums we’d throw, the glitter we’d bear and the princess waves we’d perfect. Yes, tiaras were involved, and yes I loved every second of it all.

Until one cloudy morning in July. I was in 2nd grade and had just finished hiking up my sparkling pantyhose when the thunder began rolling in. It was parade day, and I knew what rain meant: no spotlight until next summer. No Dum-Dums, no glitter. And certainly no princess waves.

My mother and I hurried off to the park to meet my fellow float-riders, yet were greeted with grim faces and crying children. I heard remnants of the conversation held between my dance instructor and the parade coordinator: “Looks like a doozy… bad turnout… head home.”

I remember being devastated until my dance instructor knelt down in front of me with a glimmer of hope in her eye. “How would you like to throw your own parade?” I nodded furiously, and after gathering umbrellas, raincoats and tarp, my fellow dancers and I hopped into the back of her pick-up truck and princess waved all through the town.

It poured. We were soaked, glitter running down our cheeks and tulle socks collecting mud. And it was one of my favorite childhood memories to date.

Sure, our parade was rained on. The festivities were canceled, overshadowed by plans that were out of our control. Yet it was still our parade. We were still celebrating our youth, our vigor. Our zest.

I want to be that dance instructor. I want to face unexpected situations with celebratory zeal and laugh in the face of clouded plans. I want to bear my bright yellow galoshes and dance atop my summer parade float, throwing Dum-Dums to no one in particular.

Because it is, after all, our parade.

*Plus, I had to don dresses as a way to make up for my serious lack of hair.

  • Oh Erin…this is just the most lovely post ever! What a wonderful childhood memory and a fantastic lesson about pursuing happiness no matter what the weather (figurative or metaphorically speaking). Thank you for inspiring me today and every day sweet Erin! xo Ez

  • “We were soaked, glitter running down our cheeks and tulle socks collecting mud.” – this sentence brought tears to my eyes. What a heartwarming memory.

  • oh adrienne, thank you! that memory is SO, so vivid. oh to be kids again – for one second!

  • Wow, Erin! Thank you for sharing that awesome story; so heartwarming and JUST the thing I needed today. You are a breath of fresh air–and a fantastic writer. Keep it up!

  • thank you sweet friends —- it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to share these stories! thank you for reading!

  • What a great way to show that challenges will always pop up, just when you have mapped out your journey to the tee. Sometimes you just have to make your way through the obstacle.

  • What a lovely story – and told so lovely, too! Thank you for this – it made me smile this morning! :)

  • I hope you sent this to your dance instructor–it would mean a lot to her! Precious story & memory. Btw, your daily dance parties are hilarious; my son and I love them. (I was the artistic one too, following two smarty pants kids.)

  • so glad i’m not the only one, jen! and yes — i certainly did send it to my old dance instructor! :)

  • “I want to face unexpected situations with celebratory zeal and laugh in the face of clouded plans.” – I LOVE this! Thank you for sharing because this is such a wonderful story!

  • What a great post! I was having a crummy day and it definitely made it brighter and happier. Thank you!

  • ha! kid-erin was a total nutjob, but you’re so sweet to say that!

    and thank you, guys. i’ll be sure to write more musings in the future! :)

  • Oh, this is just PERFECT. Considering the (very) wet weather that we are receiving here in Queensland, Australia- the timing for this post was just perfect for me.
    Thanks for your gorgeous blog!

  • Mmmmm….yellow galoshes…and dancing anyway (YES! We can always choose that!)

    Love this message, and this lovely story from your childhood…

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