Okay. Scratch that. Let me rephrase.
I love St. Patrick's Day in Savannah. It is by far, one of my favorite days of the year.
Over the years, it's changed. A lot. But I swear y'all, it gets better and better every year.
I've lived in Savannah my entire life. As a child, we used to go to the parade every year. I'd sit on the curb in front of my parents, grandparents, and their friends in a green t-shirt, headband, and shorts. My childhood best friend, Amanda, on one side of me and the younger brother on the other side. The people in the parade still threw candy and the three of us jumped, danced, and fought over candy the whole time.
One year, the parade started getting out of hand (too much Mardi Gras, too little throwing of the candy) and we eventually weren't taken down there any more. Sad face.
In high school, the parade was still a huge deal. Although most of the time we didn't actually attend. High school is that awkward age where parades are lame sober and you aren't legal to drink so, boring. But it was still a huge part of where we lived. School shut down for us on that day. Thank you St. Patrick whoever you are for a day out of school and a day at the beach.
In college, I lived for that debauchery downtown. Judge if you must, but talk about a good time. The parade was fun and all, but truth be told, my friends and I spent more time in the bars at 10 am than out on the street watching marching bands. Absolute time of your life. What was really awesome is that one year, a friend of a friend lived in an apartment right over Bay Street, so we had the best view of everything. Plus? It was right over a bar. Win. The day (okay, week) of the parade was full of laughter, friends, day drinking, and plain old fun.
Now? Well the day is a bit different.
In the last few years, the town has really cleaned up the festivities. Big time. It's family friendly again (obviously not at night duh). The set up is oddly reminiscent of a football tailgate (here in the South where it's done properly). People head out at 4:30 in the am to get a good spot (thank you Josh). There is early morning cocktails, green grits for breakfast, face painting, kids playing games on the grass, and lots of men in green coats and polos and girls in green dresses. All before 10 am.
There's a 5:30 wake up call to get to your spot on time. There's Bailey's in your coffee (it's still St. Patrick's Day even if it is rated PG now). There's good friends and good food. There's watching your daughter and her friend play in the grass. There's watching the parade with your best friend, her daughter, and your precious girl.
No longer am I the young kid with my best friend trying to catch the candy the Shriner's throw out. Now? I'm the Mom in the back watching my child's eyes light up at the Budweiser clydesdales. Watching her wave "bye bye doggie", "bye bye drummer", and pretty much bye bye everything that walks by. I'm the Mom sipping the mimosa laughing at the college kids a few yards down with the two coolers of beer thinking of how that used to be me.
I'm the one making sandwiches the night before instead of out dancing. I'm packing Capri Suns and waters in my cooler. I'm picking out a cute green dress for me at the last minute while laying out my daughter's outfit I special ordered weeks ago. I'm getting yogurt and string cheese at the last minute instead of going to bed at 3 am.
The parade and the whole day look a lot different now. But dare I say I really, really love it more now than ever before? Sharing this day with my sweet girl and starting new traditions with my family and friends is priceless. And makes my love for this special day in my special city even greater.