Festival of Lights Parade for Beginners

I have never used this platform as a means to endorse or promote a particular brand or product and I take this very seriously.  You all don't come here to find out what car to drive or broom to use.  You come here to read about life and love and hope and family and all those kinds of good things.  Chevy didn't ask me to write this and I waffled about whether or not I should.  In the end, I am so floored and grateful to have been given this opportunity that here I am.  I guess I found my line in the mommy blogger sand.  

Chicago's Festival of Lights Parade down Michigan Avenue has always been something I have wondered about, but never actually been.  It seemed like a cool thing, but a "thing," you know, where lots and lots and lots of folks not from Chicago come in to enjoy the sights and sounds.  If you live here, you become a city snob and avoid those things like the plague.  You can add the air show, St. Patrick's Day Parade, and Taste of Chicago to this mix, too.

Shhhhhh.  Don't tell anyone I told you that.  Us city dwellers have an unspoken code that I just breached.

All that changed a few weeks ago when I got an email from a new acquaintance at GM.  In September I had been awarded the "Our Town, Our Heroes" award that GM sponsors.  Every month they pick a local person that has been nominated for their community service to others.  I was nominated for the things our charity, Donna's Good Things, does.  Specifically, funding dance education and scholarships in our Rogers Park community and providing programming at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago in partnership with the Old Town School of Folk Music.

SHAMELESS PLUG:  This year we started funding weekly dance education at Rogers Elementary -- that's 700+ kids getting arts education on a weekly basis for the course of the school year.  Considering that there is minimal or no arts education in the average CPS neighborhood school, we are pretty damn proud of this.

Enough tooting my own horn, though!

Fred wrote with one of the most generous invitations I have ever received.  Would my family like to participate, as a guest of Chevy, in the Festival of Lights parade?  Oh, yeah, and we would be IN the parade, riding in the pace car.  Um, yes, Fred, why yes we would like to ride in the pace car of the Festival of Lights parade, thank you very much!

It was AMAZING.  Honestly, the experience of a lifetime and something I am so proud to have been able to share with my family.  Mary Tyler Son and Mary Tyler Dad both had a blast and were wowed by all of the things we saw.  No parade will ever be quite the same.  Donna taught me the importance of moments, the necessity of seeking out the wonders in everyday life, the need to go to the joy.

Thanks to Chevy and Donna, as I think both had a hand in helping my family make this memory.

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