I’ll Be Back!

It’s always a little awkward the first time I miss a big event in town, an event I’ve covered for the newspaper year in and year out.
The first time I missed the tractor parade, I had to have a REALLY good excuse. Her name was Jillian, by the way, born less than 72 hours before the first tractor rolled in 2005.
This time it was the Easter egg hunt at the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon. And my excuse? Jillian, again, whose social calendar is already filling up much faster than her parents. She had a birthday party to attend – and I had to beg off the big hunt.
Oh, she still hunted eggs, albeit in her buddy’s back yard with just a small group of kids. She didn’t miss out – not exactly. But that didn’t stop the calls from coming.
“It’s raining, do you know if they’re holding the Easter egg hunt downtown? Are you going to just drive down there and see?”
Er, no. Sorry.
Call me a workaholic, but a tiny bit of me does feel guilty when I miss out on the big events. They’ve become habitual, it’s true, but it’s more than that. I love seeing little kid scurry across a field on the search for Easter eggs. I like snapping their pictures and seeing that wide-eyed grin when they hear they might show up in the newspaper.
I love knowing that here parents will let me take their kids’ pictures (usually) without staring at me like some stranger who has intruded on their oh-so-private existence in the middle of a big city. We might be small town, but we know a public place is a public place . . . and it’s as safe as we’re willing to make it.
I like that these events, the egg hunts, the tractor parades, go off without a hitch – and without a cent of taxpayer money or a requirement from parents to dish out $100 to get their kids into the show.
I’m fast finding out just how much it costs to get your kids in on most action, just how few places there are left for kids where you can feel safe as a parent.
So don’t worry, we’ll be back. As long as my daughter’s social calendar can be adjusted to accommodate her mother’s work schedule.

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