Sunday, July 6, 2008

232 years and counting ...

I love the 4th of July. I love the picnics, parades, pagentry ... I love gathering with folks from my hometown to "ooh" and "ahh" in collective wonder at fireworks displays that each year seem better than the last. I love that long late night walk back to the car through historic Saint Charles, with the bunting draped off the balconies and front porches of homes that are so grand and old and that seem to exhale deep sighs filled with their own historic perspective.

Usually, each year, I watch "A Capitol Fourth" on PBS, and if I don't watch it live - I TiVo it. (Yes, I am one of those dorky people, I suppose.) And each year, I make my impassioned, "Next year in Washington" toast - of course, I haven't made it there yet ... but one day, I will watch the fireworks from the lawn of the Capitol and wave my Stars and Stripes, embarrass myself by dancing to old time artists who probably ought to have retired years ago (and actually, probably did, but have been lured out to play once more for the forgiving crowd gathered in D.C. ... this year, it was Jerry Lee Lewis), and shed a tear, or two, or twenty as the Marine Corps band plays Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever," and the Boston Pops takes a backseat to the fireworks with its bold performance of the 1812 Overture.

Yup. Someday.

This year found Sydney and I celebrating without Leon - he was on his way home from an uber successful youth servant event. So, we decked out the house, and loaded up enough gear for 20 infants and their moms, and spent the day at Grandma and Papa Staude's house with my sister and her family. Sydney was outfitted in a flag dress, complete with a Fleur de lis bib (I felt this to be the most obvious choice, given how the French assisted us with our victory all those years ago ... see ... a dork ...)

And while my nephew, Gabe, and I worked together on a very special 4th of July themed dessert, it was with great enthusiasm that I explained to Gabe just what makes the 4th so special.

What a wonderful moment (for me at any rate), as we made our own "Stars and Stripes" and debated how best to place the blueberries so as to make it "look like" we made stars, and took notice of the flag out front to get our "strawberry stripes" just right, and talked about why people from England are called British ... We talked about George Washington and "I cannot tell a lie" and the Revolutionary War (boy, I bet that kid was wishing his Auntie wasn't a former history teacher!) ... but it was wonderful, really.

Sunday Leon was home and so we hosted a brunch at our house and then spent the later evening back at Grandma and Papa's playing in the pool. ...

As a working Mom, I deeply treasure my weekends and this holiday weekend was absolutely no exception. I want to draw every drop of Sydney-Mommy-and Daddy time that I can from the few precious days each week when it is "just us." ... Last 4th found me exhasuted and preparing for the Gathering and really too tired to much notice my beloved holiday. This year, I felt invigorated and inspired by the very idea of being a parent and raising my child here in the United States. We have much for which to give thanks, much to be working to correct, much to be challenged by and working for as a country that has been tremendously blessed. I am so proud to be part of that work and I am humbled by the notion of raising a child who is kind, courageous, patriotic, compassionate, independent, and free. What a country for her to know and love.

Happy 4th of July!

1 comment:

CStaude said...

I second all your thoughts on our very special National Birthday... BTW, I would love a copy of the lower 2 photos of the girls on Dad's lap... larger format if possible, please :-)
I want to add those to our grandkid book! Too cute!