There are so many areas of life that are timelines.

School for example. You start when you are little, you go through growth spurts and the joys of puberty, and you finish when you are “old” enough to get married and start a family. Buying shoes — again, you start when you are little, you finish buying for size instead of for sport when your feet stop growing. That is a timeline milestone. (Some people by shoes for sport. I am not one of those people as evidenced by the fake crocs that I have been wearing for 12 years.)

Unless, of course, you are a pregnant woman whose feet dramatically increase in size, possibly to balance out your middle section, which also grows dramatically in size — but that is for another time.

Another area of life that is a timeline for where you are in the midst of it all is the Israeli Day Parade. The parade is actually a microcosm for so many other things as well, so let us take a look. I remember marching in the parade as a little girl. (when I say little, I actually mean “young,” since I was never little.) One year, the school had us carry umbrellas as part of a flower theme; of course, that year it rained, and my mom wouldn’t let me participate in the parade because she didn’t want me getting wet, which would lead to me getting sick. Even though we were holding umbrellas. Oh well. I remember marching in the parade as a senior in high school. My friends and I carried the school banner and we thought we were it. No one was cooler than we were. Our whole lives were ahead of us, and we were leading the charge. Ahh, memory is a funny thing.

That was to be the last year that I participated in the parade as a non-spectator. Or that I ever thought that I was “it.”

I then went to the parade with my single friends, scouring the crowd for people we wanted to see, guys we wanted to meet, and, of course, avoiding those we wanted to avoid. Because high school never ends. There will always be people who look the other way when they see you — a life lesson you are taught when it is happening to you initially and then you teach your own children. It is just the way it is, unfortunately. Why can’t we all just get along? Who knows.

When you get engaged, you just have to go to the parade, because, well, you are engaged. When someone asks you “How have you been?” you can show them your ring.

And then you decide to go as new parents. Why? That I have no answers for. Is it the love we have for Israel? No, it is probably an excuse to get out of the house and hope the little ones will stop screaming in the fresh air. My back still hurts when I think about that parade when I thought it would be a good idea to wear son #2 in a baby bjorn, while husband #1 pushed son #1 in the stroller. Sleep deprivation — it does funny things to the brain.

And then your children start marching in the parade. And you pack lunch and snacks and carry those ridiculous chairs that come with their own handy-dandy travel bag. If you are in a thinner phase, you walk around so you run into people — or you are brave enough to walk with your child’s school. Husband #1 was always a big fan of walking with the boys. There he would be, blocks behind the rest of the marchers, waving to the crowds on either side of him, talking to folks he hadn’t seen in years. Husband #1 loves the parade, especially when he finds parking on the street. If he has to put a car in a lot, well, he doesn’t and then we miss the parade. (He loves Israel, but not if it is going to cost him $20 extra for driving a minivan.)

And then there was this year. Son #3 was the only member of the family marching in the parade. His old parents scored tickets in the VIP section so we could sit down and not have to schlep the chairs of our youth. Son #3 said it was weird to be marching without any siblings. Husband #1 and I thought is was weird that we had so little interest in seeing who was at the parade. We were just happy that neither of us needed a bathroom. I guess that is the next stage…ahh, something to look forward to!

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck was happy that she has been to Israel since last year’s parade. She also hopes that all of her sons will be at next year’s parade, but, you never know…