We usually celebrate the 4th of July every year by going to a friend's house and having a cookout and lighting an entire super-sized box of fireworks. The kind of fireworks that are absolutely ear-splitting. It's hilarious; in between setting off each one, the adults sit around and try to cram in about 20 seconds worth of normal conversation before the next one crackles to life. Then for a whole minute we sit and focus on the can that is spewing sparks into the air, because it's useless to try to talk over the racket at that point. The kids usually tire of it after about 15 minutes and run inside to play, but for some reason, the adults keep lighting them until the box is empty and our eardrums are permanently impaired.
We decided to do something different this year, and took Savannah to the Balloon Fiesta Park where the city launches its big fireworks show. We arrived about 7:30, spread a blanket out and set up lawn chairs, and settled in to listen to Blood, Sweat and Tears play a concert. I felt a little out of it when I discovered that I only knew 2 of the songs they played, but I just now googled them and found out they've been around since the '60s, so that made me feel a little better, like I am not totally out of the loop.
The evening was perfect. Balmy and breezy, 70 degrees. Savannah ran in circles, and then we lay on the blanket, looking up at puffy white clouds and a sliver of the moon. Ricardo offered to brave the lines to get a snack. He returned 45 minutes later bearing a paper container of nachos, the kind that are slathered in processed cheese and sliced jalapenos. And may I just add that after a few weeks of not eating much fat, these are currently not sitting well with me. And that's all I have to say about that.
The fireworks show started, and Savannah was delighted. She cuddled next to me for the first few moments, exclaiming, "I scared!" But she became braver and was soon standing, arms outstretched, trying to catch the drops of light as they fell toward the earth.
Synchronized patriotic music played along with the fireworks. When "God Bless America" started, I teared up. When "I'm proud to be an American" played, I cried and sang along as loudly as I could. I didn't expect to get emotional; it just happened.
It was a great day. We live in a great country. I know I am guilty of not recognizing it on a daily basis, but we have amazing freedom here. I love this holiday because it's a reminder to slow down and be thankful for all that God has bestowed upon us.