On Tuesday evening, I was sitting on the patio with my daughter and we were blowing bubbles. It has been unseasonably warm this week and since my wife was in class, it was up to me to come up with something exciting to do to keep her entertained. Daughters can be satisfied simply cuddling with their mothers, but their fathers have to do something to keep them engaged.
My mom happened to call and let me know later that day (at 8:00 p.m.), there would be an Elephant Walk though the streets of D.C. The circus had come to town, and as a preview, they do a traditional walk through the streets. Having lived in the area for all of my life, it was an event I had never before attended. It was about 6:45 p.m. when I received the call, so if I wanted to attend, I needed to leave immediately. Usually, it takes place during the daytime, but this year was special because it was being done under the lights of night.
I figured I had nothing more exciting in mind we could do for the day, so I hysterically gathered what we needed for the evening - a water bottle and her jeans with a sweater if it cooled down.
When I told Leilani that we were going to see some elephants, she was only semi-enthused. She was perfectly happy rifling through her random piles of toys that she had strewn about. Being the all-wise father that I am, I knew this level of happiness would only last for not very much longer. I told her that the elephants would be exciting, but she requested horses. I tried to share the superiority of the elephants but she didn't seem convinced. Regardless, she was eventually willing to get into the car.
After a quick (45 minute) drive into the city, we found our places along Pennsylvania Avenue right near the U.S. Capitol. For those of you who have never done it, you should check out major DC landmarks at night. It is absolutely the best way to see them. No matter how many times you see them, they never fail to take your breath away. Just like my wife, but I digress.
As we waited for the parade of elephants with an assortment of other locals, a gathering of Americans from various ethnic backgrounds and different ages, the glowing dome of the Capitol illuminated us all as we waited together for that one thing that had brought us there that day. ELEPHANTS!
People were following the progress of the parade on Twitter, shouting out updates for us letting us know about their eminent arrival. And then, they arrived. Please forgive my picture quality as all of these were taken on my cellphone.
There was a line of maybe 15 elephants who marched through the streets. Beside their line, on both sides, were a group of people carrying a rope to serve as a barrier between the public and the massive giants. After the elephants had gone by, I assumed the parade was over and got up to take Leilani down the street so we could follow them. However, to my surprise, the parade continued. There were HORSES!
Before, Leilani was excited with the elephants (as I suspected). However, as the much longer line of horses went by, she was over the moon. Then, there was a collection of clowns and acrobats who marched behind them.
As they went by, they threw out circus memorabilia to the crowd - glowing rings, clown noses, and an occasional t-shirt. The shirt fell right in front of us and Leilani was quick to grab it. We also got several clown noses, but I was excited that she had a circus t-shirt to commemorate our evening.
Leilani was thrilled with the entire evening. She couldn't stop talking about all the things that she was, asking me to make phone calls, both to Ruth and to my parents so that she could tell them about all the things that she did. She talked non-stop mainly about the horses, but also about the elephants, the clown noses, and her t-shirt.
When we got home, I was excited to see what was on the shirt because it was tied up. I was hoping it could be something that she could possibly wear over her bathing suit during the summer. I was imagining a circus tent, an elephant picture, or something along those lines. However, when I opened it, I saw this:
A promotional t-shirt for a music festival from last year. To the giveaway pile, you go!
Luckily for Leilani, she was excited she got a shirt but did not care what it was. Her mind was filled with images of the horses and elephants. When she went to bed that night, she cuddled with her toy plastic horse as she drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, she still couldn't stop talking about it.
Oh, the little things.