Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

It's the 4th of July, and I'm not firing up the grill. In fact, there's chicken soup bubbling in the crock pot since this morning. It smells like home.

I didn't make a flag cake, but we're planning to bake up some kale chips, and probably raid the freezer for the leftover ice cream from JT's last competition team meeting.

We won't be going to the fireworks. This is one of the busiest days of the year at the beach, and JT will be working long and hard in the sun. The boys are sun tired from the beach and scared of loud noises.

I'm counting on an early kiddo bedtime, and a little Netflix this Independence day evening.

And I'm happy.

Aquaman is driving Mater through the sandbox, talking in the high pitched voice that means he's deep in imagination land.
 The Dude is driving his Cozy coupe around JT'S just-cleaned-out garage, and probably quoting the Little Tyke's Land movie under his breath: "that's not very nice, Metro", and laughing hysterically at his own private joke.

We just got home from my parents' Home Alone reminiscent house, our last 4th of July visit there. I think I said hi to everyone, but there was so much chaos that I couldn't be sure. We all went to the beach together, and I watched, next to muddy puddles with trucks in them, as my sisters, brother-in-law, teenage nieces and nephews get knocked over by the waves. We got sand in every crevice, and I missed a spot of sunscreen on my shoulders.

I'm tired, from being up at 5 am. But it's a good tired. A free tired.

4th of July has always been my favorite holiday, because there's less pressure than a lot of others. You don't have to prepare gifts and food for days. You just show up for some beach volleyball or to lounge in the pool and eat simple foods like hamburgers that don't take much preparation, and you just enjoy each other.

I also love fireworks. I think they're romantic. My husband doesn't. All he sees are dollar signs going up in smoke. He's not generally so realistic, so I find it endearing.

I bet it will be just a few years and we'll be heading out to the fireworks again with mosquito repellent, and sparklers, and those wormy little snakes you light on fire that make black marks on your driveway. Bet we'll even throw some chicken on our $20 grill and next year, I may even make a flag cake.

But for now, I'm finding freedom in paving our own way.

 In embracing these times and all their nuances and complications. I'm feeling festive listening to my children yell at each other that they are going to be sent to the scrap yard, as they play bumper cars with their Cozy Coupes: one that Aquaman got for his 2nd birthday, and one that I got for Christmas as a toddler.

I'm looking forward to welcoming my sunburned husband who probably chased down 10 missing kids on the beach today home to a (relatively) cool and clean house, and the way that The Dude will hug him like he'll never let go when he walks in the door, and the way that JT will let him elbow him right in the teeth and keep smiling, and the way that Cozy will come out of her all-day hideout in the closet with her butt bumping her nose she'll be wagging so hard, and even though JT has never been a dog person, and even though she digs up the courtyard and scratches up the doors every chance she gets, he won't be able to help but to stop and pet her.

Now Aquaman and The Dude are standing right here next to me smelling like peanut butter, because Aquaman said his tummy hurt, because the air outside feels like "hot breath", and the Dude said "oh no!" when I handed them both crackers to settle their stomachs, because he wanted peanut butter on his. And my mom just called to ask if we wanted any food, because they have so much of it.

And it's a Happy 4th of July. It's not like I thought it would be, and it's everything it's supposed to be. And there is so much freedom in that.

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