I love being an American.
Have you stopped (recently) and really thought about the incredible stories we have in the arsenal of our history?
I mean, how much more romantic can you get than Paul Revere's Ride, the Shot Heard Round the World, or Francis Scott Key's vigil til dawn when he composed our national anthem?
I love it. I also love having an eleven year old in the house, because it makes me stop and think about these things that I hadn't thought about much since middle school, with the occasional reference in my Poli Sci classes.
Joe (my baby brother) has been here a week. I was so happy he was here for the 4th, cause it made me actually go out way past my bedtime to see fireworks.
First that evening we had Camille and her cute family over. My beloved mother-in-law was here too, so there was a lot of delicious food, laughs and happy babies being constantly amused.
I am so grateful to my Grammy for the cute patriotic tablecloth she threw in with the dining room table she gave us... I felt so Martha-y with my from-scratch vanilla tea-cake, freshly whipped cream and red and blue berries.
Joey had resigned himself to an evening of no fireworks. But as the evening wore on, I felt bad. My dad had always made a huge deal over fireworks. I don't think I had ever missed them before my first summer of motherhood last year.
After our hilarious and entertaining guests had left, the baby rocked to sleep and the counters wiped down, I couldn't stand the thought of just sitting around watching a movie on Independence Day - if not for my own sleepy sake, for my energetic young brother's.
Joe and I hopped in the car together and set off last minute to find fireworks - windows rolled down in the warm summer night air, so we could hear them when we got close enough.
I wasn't sure if we'd find them or find a place to park where we could actually see them, so I tried to make the very most of the trip for my little brother. We shared and retold our personal favorites from the history books of the American Revolution. It's really the most thrillingly romantic story, is it not? Those Minute Men...
Luck was on our side. Well, mostly on Joey's side to save him from having to hear me croak through one more verse of "My Country Tis of Thee". We found the fireworks just as they began, and pulled off the road in a business lot just a few blocks away, where we had a perfect view perched on the roof of my car.
You think that having babies keeps you from adventure - but in my experience, in the long run, it keeps you from getting too complacent or boring. Sure there are plenty of nights you sacrifice some fun times for a quiet night with the baby monitor.
But those same babies inspire you to turn around and re-live your favorite childhood memories with them...
To take the time to retell those beautiful old stories that our country's sense of self was built upon for them...
To renew your commitment to a life of spontaneity and joy,
inspired by those quiet and delighted smiles.