Happy Fourth of July!!!!
Yes, I know I'm a little bit early with this one, but this is one of my favorite Holidays. Every Fourth of July, Americans flock together for parades, barbecues, and fireworks. This is actually the number one Holiday for families, at least immediate families, to spend time together. Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be so busy and bustling with activity that family interaction is not at all what you would think, but on the Fourth of July, we laze at the lake or mill around the grill, or sit together at a parade and we do something that is very novel in today's society, we visit with each other. There is nothing more fun that watching children grab for candy thrown out at the parade or seeing the wonder in their eyes and the sky catches fire with bottle rockets and mortars. Looking back at my life, and that is a lot of looking back, all of my fondest memories with family are during this holiday.
Several years ago, I was working in Brownwood, TX for Staples. I was five hours away from my family, trying to get us ahead financially. I refused, however, to miss the Fourth of July with Michael. On July 1st, I drove back to Lubbock to get him and bring him to Brownwood. We spent three days of planning, gathering food, cooking, and getting ready for an AMAZING barbecue with all my new Brownwood friends. He was so excited to be the center of it all. He picked out everything! On the third, he and I went to the largest fireworks stand in Brownwood. I told him we had $250 to spend on fireworks and that was the limit. He promptly started calculating in the way young geniuses do. After about an hour of looking and figuring, he decided to buy a $50 assortment of little stuff and a $200 single fuse 100 shot, triple report artillery shell. We cooked for friends, played games, visited and had a fantastic time. When it was finally dark, we waited until every single firework was popped before he proudly debuted his massive fireworks machine. As he lit it, under my supervision of course, his whole body trembled in anticipation. The fuse burst to life and we took off like a shot to join in with the rest of the crowd. For what seemed like forever, the sky became awash in lights that, at least in our eyes, rivaled the shows at Disney and Six Flags.The entire time, his eyes were glued to the sky and a smile was plastered on his face. When the show finally ended, he gave my waist a big hug and said, "That was the best ever!"
So, while the Fourth of July is the celebration of the final copy of the Declaration of Independence, in my world at least, it's a celebration of family. A time to bond with the little ones while they are still there and to make memories that will always burn in your mind like fireworks in the sky.