So tomorrow is my favorite holiday of the year. It just brings back a lot of memories and you have to love FREEDOM! This post seems a little sporadic so bear with me!
As a kid we'd start the day off at the Parade! There were floats and truck beds full of red, white and blue! As a Girl Scout we got our own float in the parade (yes, I've been in half a dozen parades as a kid!). One year our float was called, "Red, White and Boo!" and we dressed up in Halloween costumes. I can't remember if that was actually for the 4th of July or for Homecoming (in the fall) but whatever.
We got to throw candy out to the kids, which was so much fun. But mostly I was a spectator, especially as a teenager. After the parade we'd slather on more sunscreen and head over to the Bandshell (outdoor stage and park) where there were craft booths and festival rides. Usually we'd end up with frozen lemonade and walk around in the blazing sun pretending we had money to buy all this junk we didn't really need.
Later it was Papa John's pizza and fireworks! Hey, what can I say? My mom was a single mom. Grilling hotdogs wasn't exactly her forté. There were sparklers and those little poppers, lawn chairs and small talk. There was always that air of anticipation and magic!
Whenever I spent the 4th with my dad we'd end up at someone's party where there was tons of food and a fire going for marshmallows. We'd just sit outside until the sun went down and the fireworks lit up the sky! He and his friends usually had a ton of the illegal stuff and we'd shoot stuff off, the kids screaming in mock terror and running amuck... good times!
While the memories are wonderful and give me that warm, fuzzy feeling I have to remind myself what this day truly means. Being proud of who we are and what we stand for (seemingly difficult in this recent years as our Constitution is continually threatened). And being thankful for having so many freedoms that, honestly, no other country has!
I wish my mom were still around to celebrate. She always managed to burn her skin something awful, but it seemed like she was always in a great mood for this holiday. She always tried to make it fun, even if she was so sick she could hardly stand it (she'd have to rest a lot or not go out for as long). For those of you who don't know, she had cancer.
I remember the last time we celebrated together and she was really sick but she still got up to take me to the festivities. Being mindful of her condition we stayed long enough to get our frozen lemonade before I had to help her walk back to the car. I could tell she felt guilty but I kept telling her I was too hot and that I needed to go home and cool off anyway. I didn't want her to feel bad and I didn't want her to pass out in the heat!
Now that we have our own little family we are starting to make our own traditions. So this is a fresh beginning and a fresh outlook on what the future holds, as we look upon the heavens in anticipation for spectacular bursts of fire, never knowing exactly where they'll sparkle.
Tomorrow we are going over to Daniel's sister's home for a BBQ and for swimming and fireworks (if the fireworks don't get rained out). I'm looking forward to great food, for getting to swim, for relaxing, and for just being with the ones we love!
So that is why this holiday means so much to me. I'm very thankful that I have so much family around and I'm incredibly blessed to be free!