Marchers in the Pride Parade were supposed to arrive by 11:30, but it was the last game of Zachary’s soccer season, and you don’t screw with soccer. We joined the small but dedicated contingent from our synagogue at 12:10. By 12:15, I had already lost Benjamin once. I found him fifteen feet away, starting in awe up at the bedizened dancers on the D Bar float. I gathered him up, but not before he had scored his first set of beads.
One of the women from our synagogue handed the kids bags of bracelets that read: “Temple B— A– : A Welcoming Community.” “You hand them out to people on the way,” a friend explained. Benjamin didn’t need to be told twice. Before we’d even started moving, he’d distributed bracelets among the cast for The Donkey Show. He was particularly impressed with the guy in the gold roller skates, and he garnered quite a bit of attention from the costumed cast.
Which meant that before we’d even started moving, Zachary had dissolved into tears of jealous rage.
We began moving, trailing another Jewish group and a guy who – rather impressively – managed to hula-hoop for all two and a half miles. Benjamin, who is sporting a scab from a recent hula-hoop accident, kept a wary distance from him.
Benjamin gave out bracelets with verve. “Go to whomever you like,” I told him. “I’ll stay right behind you.” Yes, in a crowd of a million people, I was encouraging my kid to talk to strangers. He darted this way and that, choosing older people, young women, shirtless men covered in glitter, families with kids.
As is so often the case in highly stimulating environments, Zach just needed to fall apart and pull himself together. By the time we hit half a mile, he had recovered and was now scavenging the parade route for dropped booty.
Lilah was conked out in the stroller that her father was pushing.
And there was Benjamin, up on tiptoes so he could reach a very tall drag queen in very tall platform shoes wearing very sparkly teal everything. She leaned down and gently took it: “Thank you.” Benjamin smiled his winningest smile back, then dug in his bag for more bracelets.
When we finally ran out of bracelets, he waved, smiled, and accepted beads from onlookers. He gets easily overstimulated but he’s also easily bored. It’s hard to find a good balance for him, but apparently Boston Pride is just the right milieu for him. Philly Pride might be too much, but Boston? Good clean fun.
So, there you have it: Benjamin worked it, Zachary scavenged it, and Lilah slept through it.