Do you ever have those really good days? Days when the sun is shining and your hair looks good and no one pitches a fit and everyone takes a nap and your husband looks cute and you don’t burn dinner? Those stars align, like, once a year for me. Maybe. But, man, when they do, I just feel so grateful for my life and for the people in it.
The 4th of July was one of those days for me. Though, it was not a good hair day. That one’s always an illusive circumstance. Only happens every other leap year.
The 4th of July is one of Chris’s favorite holidays. Might actually BE his favorite holiday, really. You don’t hear people say that too often. He loves it because when he was growing up, his family lived on the bay in Pensacola and they would spend hundreds of dollars on highly illegal fireworks, which they would shoot off their dock over the water into the wee small hours of the morning. All of their neighbors did the same thing, so it was like a spectacular fireworks show every 4th, right off his Granddaddy’s dock. He’s got some pretty awesome stories. One year, the house next door accidentally shot a giant cannon firework into their pool house. I was there that year, and it was pretty funny. You saw someone light the wick, then the cannon made this “Pffffft!” sound like a missile as it shot into the pool house where there were about 20 people having a big party. All of a sudden, someone yells, “IT’S IN THE HOUSE!” and you see all these people running out the doors and windows, trying to get out before the firework exploded.
Another time, I brought Lucy over when she was about a year or two old to sit on Chris’s grandparent’s back porch and watch the fireworks. I had her tied to one of the columns on the deck. Chris’s granddaddy accidentally set up this giant cannon firework upside down, about 20 feet from Lucy. So, the fireworks start shooting out all over the ground and Lucy got so freaked out that she wrapped herself around that column until she could hardly breathe.
Actually, that one doesn’t sound funny now that I write it out. But, trust me, it was pretty funny at the time. Though, not for me. I was crying and so mad that as soon as I got her untied, I stormed home. But, looking back, it was pretty funny.
So, Chris grew up with the 4th of July setting pretty high expectations for him. As we got older, 4th of July celebrations began to include BBQs at our own house and with our old and new friends. Chris even spent a few 4th in New York on rooftops in Brooklyn, watching fireworks all over the city. He says it was one of the pretties things he’s ever seen.
Which is why when Chris said to me last night, “This might have been my favorite 4th,” he doesn’t say that lightly.
All in all, our 4th wasn’t spectacular. It rained. We didn’t leave our house. Our dogs barked until 1:00am. But, still, there was just something about yesterday that made both me and Chris so grateful for our lives.
5:30am – We got up, woke the kids, got everyone dressed, and headed out for my Watermelon 5k race with a few girlfriends. It was super fun! And so incredibly hot, even at 7:30 when the race started. I was dripping in sweat by the time the race ended, and watermelon has never tasted so good before! It was a great way to start the day!
9:30am – We left the race and stopped by Target for groceries and Home Depot for mulch (because I destroyed two of our flower beds last weekend. Not sure what happened. I just went crazy with a rake for about an hour.)
10:30 – We got home and had an incredibly early lunch because we started our day so early.
11:30 – FAMILY NAP! We ALL napped from 11:30 until 2:30!! It was heavenly!!
2:30 – I woke up frantic because we were having people over at four and I hadn’t cleaned anything or anyone OR gotten any food ready. Mad prep work began.
4:00 – Our friends arrived. We know them because their daughter is Bean’s best friend from school. It was our first time having them over, and I was a little nervous. But it went so well! It was supposed to be a poolside BBQ, but it was raining when they got here, so the kids played in Bean’s room while we sat around in the kitchen with the adults.
4:45 – Rain stopped, so we moved out to the backyard where we colored on the patio with sidewalk chalk, played in the yard, and swam like fish in the pool. I’d never seen Bean and Gracie have so much fun in the pool before! We couldn’t keep them out!
6:00 – We came inside to eat dinner in the AC, then wasted no time in heading outside to the driveway for the real festivities.
7:00 – We had poppers for the kids to throw, sparklers for them to hold, and those small, cheap fireworks that shoot sparks in the driveway. It was so much fun! The kids were having a blast (literally)! They loved choosing which firework we were going to set off. Even Gracie got in on the action!
8:30 – Our friends left and we put the kids to bed. I think they were asleep before we even turned off their lights.
9:00 – Chris and I cleaned up the house a bit, but then decided to just leave it and go sit outside and watch fireworks. Turns out our neighborhood is the headquarters of illegal fireworks! We had our own private show right there in our front yard! The booms were so loud that you could feel them in your chest (though, thankfully, my kids were sleeping heavy and never woke up once!). They were shooting off four or five giant ones at a time, just like at a fireworks show! It was incredible! Chris and I sat in the driveway in our lawn chairs, talking to neighbors, cheering loudly, and drinking the rest of our beer until about 11:00.
It wasn’t a spectacular day. But it was the kind of perfect family day that you picture when you’re nine months pregnant, rocking in a glider, waiting for your baby to be born. The kind of day you hope for, but rarely get to experience. The kind of day that makes you grateful to be a mother, a wife, a friend, and an American.
Chris reached over in the middle of the fireworks show last night and took my hand. “I haven’t sat in a driveway with you since we were making out in high school,” he said. “There were fireworks then, and there’s fireworks now. And that makes me a pretty happy guy.”