We live in Pensacola, FL. The King and Queen of Spain were scheduled to make an appearance as part of the 450th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of Pensacola. Faith is nutsy coo-coo about Queens and Princesses and Fairies and any other women realistic or not, who dress in “sparkles.” We had to go.

It was, however, a typical morning at our house. Wake up too late. No clean socks. Not enough milk for everyone to have cereal. “What do you mean you didn’t finish your homework?” Shoes everywhere except on the shoe rack. “I don’t want to go to school!”

Dawn withdrew to the potty just as Faith and I were reaching breaking point over, “Can you please get dressed while your bagel toasts? (Unintelligible whining) No, we don’t have time for you to sit huddled in your chair waiting for the bagel to pop-up. (General grumpiness and stalling) Faith, you chose to stay in bed instead of getting up. Now you have to get dressed quickly to have enough time to eat breakfast. (Stomping and screaming on her way back to the bedroom) Stop crying! Just get dressed!”

I later found out that she stopped off in the bathroom. The same bathroom where Dawn was doing a big job. As Dawn tells it, Faith with eyes brimming with resentful tears, opened the door, closed it and leaned against it with her defeated 30 lb. body. “Why do I have to get dressed?”

Dawn, still on the potty, said, “450 years ago, a man named Tristan de Luna from Spain stepped foot on our beach. He was the first man from Europe to do so. To celebrate his long journey and our city today, the Queen of Spain is coming to see us. I’d like to take you. I don’t think you should wear your pajamas.”

Faith said, “Will you help me choose a dress?” I am constantly amazed at Dawn’s capacity for patience and sympathy, especially while pooping.

As it turned out, we took our three youngest kids and our 2 teenaged neighbors. We staked out a good spot under a Live Oak and waited. And waited. And waited. Every now and again, a gooby white guy would come out on the balcony and lead the crowd in a round of HOLA!s It was totally embarrassing. He may have been drunk.

At long last, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia emerged from the T.T. Wentworth Museum. (I’ve never been, but I’m told it’s an insane collection that rivals Ripley’s in scope and oddity. I thought it a strange place for a head of state to make an appearance.) The crowd cheered and waved Spanish flags. One guy had a poster that read in stenciled letters, “King Juan Carlos I, Thank You For Telling That Bufon Hugo Chavez, ‘Why Don’t You Just Shut Up!’” To which I said, “OK, but that’s not how you spell buffoon.” To which Dawn said, “It is in Spanish.” I hate being dumb.

Dawn has a brilliant theory that our children are probably too young to remember the events to which we take them as we will, so it is our job to make them memorable in a kid way. For example, she recognizes that there is no way that the little ones will remember that they saw the King and Queen and that they were here for the 450th Anniversary of blah blah blah. They can remember, however, something big and bright. In this case, Dawn chose the huge plastic (because we spare no expense) Spanish flags on either side of the buildings façade.

Faith and William took turns climbing up Dawn to wave to the King and Queen. Both have told everyone since that the Spanish flag is red and yellow. Also, Faith immediately points out that the Queen wasn’t wearing sparkles, but is forgiven because her suit was such a lovely shade of green. Dawn says her favorite part of the day was when William, while waving to the King, asked, “When he going to throw candy?”

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