On Saturday, we woke up to a roar of hearty voices out on the streets. It was barely 7am and a sea of green was already flooding the neighborhood. This past weekend was our town’s annual St. Patty’s Day parade, but for many, parade day translates into a huge drunkfest. With drinking into oblivion as the main objective, scores of out of towners come into our small mile-square city by trains, buses and if they’re crazy, cars.

In a different lifetime, the first Saturday of March was always reserved for morning till night bouts of debauchery, corned beef and cabbage, green wardrobe explosions, messy parties in way-too-small spaces and of course, good times with good friends. We’ve been known to start drinking mimosas, kegs and eggs at 9am with the nuttiest of them all. Unlike the many amateurs that ruin it for those that actually live here, we love to party, yet our translation of partying doesn’t equal fall-down-drunkenness and public acts of ridiculousness. I like to pretend I’ve become wise in my old age, or at least smarter in THAT sense. We’re seasoned pros, afterall; just a few short years ago, we were childless and hangovers didn’t equate into a next day death sentence.

Jen and Jeff St. Patty's Day 2006But alas, we set out to enjoy parade day with a whole new perspective.  Because our friends are all busy with their own lives and no one really expressed interest in this year’s St. Patty’s Day festivities, I wrote it off and marked it as a family fun day. So, for the first time, we actually attended the parade—yup, the actual parade for which all the drunken activities originally stemmed. Our first parade was so much fun. We walked over with our neighbors and enjoyed the new sights and sounds of St. Patty’s Day festivities. I never really realized how many organizations and bands participated! The bagpipes, horns and glockenspiels certainly completed this whole new perspective. It was a good time, and one that Jack thoroughly enjoyed.

My favorite band in the whole parade!Hoboken fire truck
crowds at the paradeattempt at self portrait

Even though we only walked a 6 block distance to the parade, walking amidst all the partyers, felt like we were on a different planet. A sober, less tragic one. A planet where I looked in the mirror before leaving the house. A planet where I could still walk in a straight line at 1pm. One where I could see in single, unblurred vision. It felt like we were being Punk’d, where Ashton Kutcher could’ve come around the corner to surprise us— it was THAT weird to be some of the only sober folks in a sea of lunacy.   Jack had a nice glimpse of what the circus is like!

After the parade, for a quick hour, I ended up walking down the block to see Aimee and Steve who were partying with some of their friends. After trekking up to the 4th floor with my 3 cans of beers in my diaper-branded tote bag, I was greeted with a makeshift beer pong table (AKA their bathroom door) and a myriad of beer cups, leprechaun hats and kelly green boas. Oh yeah. To be the only sober person in a room full of intoxicated people is probably as comical as watching the Dr. Phil Show for psychological insight. It was fun seeing my friends and giggling at all the silly people with them. Since my friends were smart enough to leave earlier and not make it an all day/night event like we used to in the past, we said our goodbyes in time for me to walk home for dinner. I couldn’t walk any faster, I tell ya! It’s not that I didn’t have fun seeing my friends, my idea of fun, (though it still occasionally involves cocktails) is so, so, so different.  I might be old admitting that, but I’m so ok with that.  I saw a ton of girls my age or older all decked out in different shades of green + drunken + heels + over the top.  While THAT might be their thing, I’m so glad it’s not mine.  Anymore.

I’m somebody’s mom for crying out loud!  I’ll leave the cocktail binging to when the sun goes down, or at least until the kid goes to bed.

After dodging the crazies on the street, I got home and couldn’t be more relieved of our decision not to reignite our drink-all-day-wanna-be-rockstar past.  And with a warm hug from my beloved, a screechy yelp for “Muhmaaaaaa,” and a sweet, sloppy kiss, I grasped exactly what I’d been denying: it was the end of an era. My simple, unblurred life was enough intoxication a girl could want*.

Watching the parade

*The beer retrieving tot is an added extra to the whole intoxication equation. I’ll give you one guess as to whose doing THAT was…