I saw a flyer at the pool supply store a few weeks ago, advertising the RCMP Musical Ride Sunset Ceremony. I remembered staying up late in the summertime as a kid, sitting in a folding chair or on a lap to watch the majestic dance of the midnight black horses. I am using flouncy, ethereal language to describe it because it really is majestic, beautiful, special. I checked the flyer and yup, it is still a free activity. My three older girls routinely stay up past their bedtime, playing in their bedrooms, so I knew staying up to watch the show wouldn't be a problem. We got a babysitter (thanks mom!) for Summer, popped some popcorn and divided it into ziploc bags, and set out for the stables.
I admit, I was more than momentarily moved. I was proud. I felt nostalgic-- the parade of colours reminded me of the pomp surrounding Rich's graduation from Depot seven years ago this week. The heat, the crowd, the music, the clip-clop of the horses. All of a sudden, I felt 21 again, on the precipice of moving North with my newly-minted Mountie.
I went back and forth between then and now: What it felt like to be introduced to the red serge lifestyle, what it means now to have sacrificed for it. The rich life experiences it has given us, the amazing start to our marriage, some incredibly difficult circumstances, and the heartbreak, especially recently.
Rich is part of our country's history, member of a troop symbolic of our heritage and patriotism. It's inspiring, especially as we near Canada Day and take time to be thankful for what it means to live in this country. Last night, Abby kept remarking on how amazing it was to watch the dancing horses, and how her Daddy is a Mountie too. But not, (she was quick to point out), one who horse-dances. She understands what a police officer does (in a basic, five-year-old way) and proudly shows him off whenever he's in uniform. (Me too!)
Last night was a chance to sit back and watch the show, and for Rich to enjoy being out of the uniform for a change. We were amazed with the intricate patterns and movements the troop executed, and imagined how many hours of preparation must have gone into the presentation. Each galloping horseman moved fluidly as a component of an elaborate, well-oiled machine.
The kids behaved really well. Hailey and Robin would peek up and watch the show for a bit, then return to changing their dolls bums. When the Mounties first entered the arena and everyone stopped to admire them, the twins both yelled out, "Poo poo! My bee-bee poo poo'd! Eeeew" for all to hear. Of course. They also needed to pee 9387 times, but that was foreseeable after we all enjoyed fresh lemonade bought from one of those over-sized lemon carts. It was a hot night, still 30 degrees when we left at 8:30!
In all, we spent a nice night on a very cost-effective outing with our girls that they enjoyed, and that wasn't too hard on us. We sat near outhouses, brought snacks and toys, gave the girls good afternoon naps that day and let them enjoy the show the way they wanted. No tantrums, no whining, woo hoo! As for me, I came home tired but happy that we had successfully managed a family outing. I'm so glad we could bring our girls to a show we had both gone to as kids ourselves. I am now fully pumped and primed to celebrate Canada Day this week. Bring on the temporary tattoos, face paint, red and white everything of July 1st!