Here is something to know about my husband. He hates crowds and traffic like no other. He will drive 30 minutes out of the way to avoid sitting in 10 minutes of traffic and thinks the grocery store is too crowded. Always. Even if there is just one other person shopping.
“Let’s do it babe. I know it’s crazy drive an hour and a half into the city with 2 million other people. We’ve got a 4 year old and a 2 month old. I know. But let’s do it babe. Let’s go to the rolling rally this year if they win it.” I pleaded with Mike as soon as the Red Sox made it to the final round of the baseball playoffs. The World Series Cup, as lovely Mayor Menino calls it.
Going into the city wasn’t even on his radar. In his mind, this would not work in any way, shape, or form. After all, we just had a baby 2 months ago.
Here is something to know about me. I love adventure. I also do 95% of the driving when we’re together.
In a lot of ways the dream of this day started 10 years ago, when Mike and I first met. We would have never met, if it wasn’t for our mutual love of the Red Sox. In 2004 and 2007, getting to the Red Sox Rolling Rally World Series parades were logistically impossible. I think they were both on a weekday and at the time we both had jobs where we couldn’t sneak away.
We woke up an hour late. We had planned on leaving our house at 6:00 am. By the time we woke up the kids, got ready, and got Dunkies, it was almost 7:00 am. Mike was already a little panicked. I was calm because both children were quiet and I had a gigantic iced coffee to drink in peace.
We had smooth sailing into the city all the way to Rt. 95. Everyone and their mother was trying to get off so they could get to the Riverside T stop, just like we had planned to do. We sat in traffic for about 10 minutes until I made the executive decision to blow off the parking lot we were stuck in, cut across 3 lanes of traffic like a Masshole, and head into the city.
This decision proved to be a wise one. We rolled right in to the parking garage at the Prudential Center and parked right in the front row. Sure, we ended up paying a bit more for transportation but it was worth it not to have to squeeze into a subway car like a sardine.
We were in the city early enough that we were able to score 2nd row spots along the rolling rally route, right in front of the Pru. In my opinion, we couldn’t have picked a better spot. We had to wait for about an hour and a half before the parade began, but we were close enough to where it started at Fenway park that we didn’t have to wait for hours for it to get to us.
After the parade, we took a walk to Fenway Park. Malone has seen it on TV, but never in person. It was cool to be down there again. We haven’t been to a game since before Malone was born. But there was a time in our lives when we went to 8-10 games a season. The smell of street sausage brought back a lot of memories for both of us.We stopped to take a family photograph under the new banner.
As soon as we were done, the coolest thing happened. See the guy in the grey hoodie and the girl in the white shirt right behind me? They took their photo right after we did. And then the guy got down on one knee and ask her to marry him. She was out of her mind surprised, with tears streaming as she said yes. We clapped and cheered. I felt so honored to share with them in that moment- a moment they’ll retell for the rest of their lives.
I shared this next picture on Instagram. And I’m going to share part of the caption because I can’t rewrite what happened next any better than what I already did.
“We were headed back towards the Pru when all of the sudden 20 motorcycle Staties rolled through and blocked traffic. The next thing we knew, here came a duck boat back dooring its way back to Fenway Park. It was JUST US and Big Papi. Our own mini parade. Malone clapped and cheered. Papi smiled and waved. He didn’t care that he wasn’t waving to millions. He was waving to us. A tired mom with a newborn who should have probably stayed home and taken a Saturday afternoon nap, a dad who had dreamed of sharing a Red Sox parade with a son his whole life, and a little boy seeing one of his heroes up close.”
We took a pedicab down Boylston street and headed to The Public Gardens. Malone thought he was in his own parade as we rolled down the streets. He waved to all as we passed by. They clapped and cheered for him. Probably because at that time most of the people cheering were DRUNK.
We walked through The Public Gardens and toward to Boston Common. The George Washington statue was sporting a red beard and a 617 Boston Strong Red Sox Jersey.
Before we even left our house for the rolling rally, we told Malone we were going to take a ride on the T. When our travel plans changed and we decided to drive into the city, we knew we still owed our train obsessed preschooler a ride. Sure we were tired at that point. We would have rather just headed for home, but instead we took the Red Line to Harvard and then Red to Green back near the Pru. He loved every second of it, just like I knew he would. I believe it is important to follow through on things we say will happen.
We got off at the Copley Square stop. We hung out in Copley Square for a bit. I nursed Lola and Malone joined a herd of kids in a game of kick the can. Literally, there was a group of 5 boys running around playing soccer with an empty Gatorade bottle. Malone had the biggest smile on his face as he tried to keep up with the bigger kids. Seeing them play together reminded me that childhood should be simple. There is fun that can be had without fancy toys, TV, or iPad apps. I resolved to encourage a more simple style of play when we got home.
We walked from Copley Square to the Pru. I knew it was ahead of me, but I still wasn’t prepared for the way I’d feel when we crossed the Boston Marathon Finish Line on foot. We drove over it when we were on the pedicab, but to be on foot felt different. Hallowed. Sacred. We paused for a second of silence to remember the tragedy of that day. I didn’t expect to see buildings that were still busted up. But there was one, a hotel or something that has just a skeleton of a first floor. From the signs I see, they’re remodeling now- taking an opportunity to make old new again.
The entire day was magical- from beginning to end. I still can’t believe we went and experienced all that we did. Mike and I both agreed that it was one of the top five best days of our entire lives together. Malone passed out on the way home, but right before he fell asleep he declared that it was the best day of his entire life. Lola of course, won’t remember any of it. She slept in 4 hour chunks the whole day.
We’ll hold these memories for both of them, and always retell them the stories from this day.