Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Independence Day 2016

Yesterday was the Fourth of July. It also was one of the best days of my life. I know, that sounds a bit...over the top, but I'm serious, it was that good.
It was perfect in the most average and special way.  I love this holiday. All the gratitude I feel for this country and my life in it wells up inside of me and I feel the fullness of blessings that come with being an American. I feel a lot more mindful of every moment and it naturally makes every thing sweeter as I ponder all the sacrifice and miracles that went into the wonderful life I enjoy.

Independence Day at our house looked like this:
Red, white and blue outfits.
7:00 am flag ceremony and breakfast at the church
A fiddle/banjo/guitar trio playing patriotic songs in the background.
Side story: We live about a block from where the ceremony was hosted and we may or may not have walked all the way home only to realize we forgot Matthew. Seriously. That happened. I hustled back to the building to find us un-missed by that explorative little boy. He was just toddling around pushing a garbage can on wheels around the gym laughing, noticed by no one and not noticing he was left behind.  I just love that boy! OK, now moving on to the rest of the day...

Waiting for the parade to start with friends.
Otter pops 25 cents each.
Cheering for the floats, but mostly cheering for the salt water taffy, tootsie rolls, and the occasional dum-dum.
Dancing to drum lines with Matthew.

Hot dogs for lunch.
Spending time with John before he headed back to work.
A failed attempt at red, white and blue jello.
The splash pad.
Swimming at the bottom of slide with the kids.
The merry go round.
A bike ride.
Playing at the park: Underdogs for everyone, Matthew playing on the toddler toy- poking his head out of the yellow tunnel laughing with William, Slide races with Caity, and piggy back rides through lava with Johnny.
Playing with Cindie Lou (the dog next door)

Small devotional about why we celebrate Independence day.
Fourth of July coloring.
A patriotic breakfast for dinner.
Blueberry milkshakes.
Buying fireworks.

Fireworks at the Hellmans.
I love fireworks. There is just something so senseless about them that make them special and particularly breath taking. Their entire purpose is to create joy, and it does the trick for me every time. I held Mathew as I sat on folding chair with friends. He cuddled up to me until he fell asleep and he slept through all the loud bangs, the teenage girls singing pround to be an American, and William yanking at him to scoot over so Mama's lap could be shared.  At one point I looked over at the trampoline to watch my older three and I hope to never forget their faces of awe as the glow of the fireworks reflected on their faces. They would stop all their play as they watched the firework and as soon as it exploded they would resume their play. If it was a fountain, William would start watching and as the firework got louder and bangs and pops got closer together, he would start jumping faster and higher. All the while, I could look down and Matthew's squished sleeping face and kiss those round little cheeks. 
It was especially sweet for me watching John with the kids lighting fireworks and holding roman candles. He is just a fun dad, I like him. 

We came home and the kids crashed.
I walked around the park where college students were lighting fireworks.
I couldn't stop smiling.
I came home and had ice-cream with caramel syrup with John. 
It was a perfect day.

At one point in the day, I was pushing Matthew and William in the stroller. I closed my eyes, attempting to imprint the moment in my mind forever. I felt the weight of the stroller as I pushed it, knowing that these two boys will get heavier every day and before I know I won't be pushing either of them in a stroller. I felt the warmth of the summer heat on my face and arms and the light breeze that blew through out my day. I could hear the old time organ music from the merry go round harmonize with the splash pad's water slapping the pavement. I could hear kids laughing, I heard Johnny and Caity hollering to eachother while they raced their bikes, I heard a volley ball game cheers and laughter and heard William say, "Hey baby!" and I opened my eyes to see him leaning over his seat to make his little brother laugh.
It was an idyllic moment.
I am so grateful to live in this country. I'm grateful that I live somewhere I can worship God openly and where I have the freedom to enjoy that blessing and the happiness it brings me and my family.
God bless America, my home sweet home.

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