It has been years since I attended the Pride Parade. My kids were up and ready to go before I was. This was their first Pride as teenagers – both of them – so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.
I’ll be honest. As I was standing there, annoyed we had gotten there late without a blanket or anything to mark our spot (not realizing we needed a blanket to mark our spot), I was telling myself I’m here for the kids. I’m here for G who was marching with an organization of which he belongs.
The start of the parade came around the corner near where we stood, and the energy hit me like a ton of bricks. The energy was good – it was positive – it was supportive – it was celebratory – it was light, not dark. I stood there, eyes closed, and let breathed – taking it in instead of resisting what I was feeling. I let the light fill me even thought it surprised the fuck out of me. It brought tears to my eyes, truth be told.
It took me a few minutes to find a balance between what was inside and outside of me. I realized I needed to take it in – devour the positive energy I was feeling instead of resisting out of surprise. Once I did, I felt better. I realized all of the reasons I was feeling this way. My oldest is dating a lesbian. She knows who she is and doesn’t hesitate to tell people. My youngest is an ally – still figuring things out but doing what she always does – supports and protects those she feels are under attack.
Soon after the start, a friend of both of my daughters showed up. He is a very gay, very out teenage boy who was so excited to have two friends to share this day. Another friend of theirs showed up. And to watch the four of them dance and sing and cheer and celebrate all of these people – well, it made me happy. I explained to them later that 17 years ago, few teenagers would have felt comfortable being there. G, who did talk about bullying gay students, was walking a fine line even that short time ago. To see the 180 degree turn things have taken, well, it was good to see. Good to know, as a parent, that while shit still exists in the world, the tide is turning. The parade was almost 3 hrs long…..that’s how the tide is turning.The fact we needed to show up more than an hour ahead of time to get a front row seat? That’s how the tide is turning. To see so many families out there, celebrating themselves, their children, their friends, their families…..that’s how the tide is turning.
It was overwhelming and beautiful – and I soaked it into me.
Maybe 40 “floats” into the parade (there were about 150 entries), a group of Lutheran ministers who were marching turned the corner then pointed to the sky behind us. “LOOK!! A RAINBOW” they all shouted. We turned – and it was there – in the middle of a blue sky. (see above photo) People were shocked. The group of gay men, who were about 30 yrs old, took photos then commented to each other that “Wow – their God showed up for us today.” About 5 minutes later, it was gone. It was some whether oddity or something, I’m sure – but the timing? Well, many different spiritual groups would have something to say about why it happened. It was just neat it happened.
As for security today, it was ever present. The local police and different sheriff departments (yes plural) did a good job not making it obvious. It blended in with officers who were trying to just be part of the parade. And I heard SB’s voice in my head saying ” oh, there are more here than you can see”, and I believed it. I know some people who didn’t show up because of Orlando. They were afraid. The good thing? A lot more people were not afraid. (Not that Momma bear wasn’t keeping an eye out on her cubs.)
We all ended out day at Pride a bit crispy – blown away by the participation – and in a good place. It was a good day for Pride. Given all that has happened this past week, it’s a good way to end the week.