It’s July 4th weekend. In my mind that means summer is officially here, it means BBQs, lazy days by the pool and ices. It means a later wake up, no carpool and a more relaxed schedule, resulting in a calmer, more laid back me. As we plan for our fourth and fireworks, I am thinking about the beauty in my life. The simple joys of being with who I love and enjoying the little things. Perhaps this blog is making me think more deeply, more mindfully, but I’m relishing the family time this summer. I am taking mental notes and pictures of everything around me, because in the blink of an eye, the kids will have outgrown the fireworks in the park, and they will have moved on to their collegiate years and their own adventures. I do hope dear readers, that this summer you get to see and enjoy the beauty in the simple things.
So in the past, I have hosted July 4th get togethers. At first a few couples, then as many as twenty, thirty families – potluck barbecues at our home. We’ve always had a big yard, and it lent itself to the festivities. I witnessed my friends son enjoy a hot dog for the first time, my other friends daughter learn to dive, and a whole lot of grown men playing catch with frisbee and red playground balls. Priceless.
Of course the excitement in our house started building just after Memorial Day. My hubby, biggest kid of all, would eagerly wait for the mailman. Yes, he was looking for the plastic postcards with Donny Dollars. That’s the lingo for Donny Aaron’s savings on some pretty industrial fireworks. My kids, from before they could speak, knew what the fireworks store was all about, their eyes lighting up as we gathered in line, the staff giving out cans of soda and little bags of crispy, sun warmed chips. My kids were in heaven. Not to mention my husband, plotting just what he would be getting and how grandiose our finale would be. All this while calculating how to keep the expense to $350. That was the allotted firework brigade budget. My kids loved the whole process. As we approached the door, we signed in and they were rewarded. A giant sparkler, a car that when lit raced down the sidewalk, sparks flying from behind, or my middle one’s favorite…the parachute guy. One firecracker up to the sky, and a little plastic man with a paper chute floated crazily back down to earth. His giggles of glee are etched forever in my mind.
So, kids swimming, adults relaxing, lots of burgers and chicken and other standard BBQ fare, what made it so special? The companionship. The easy camaraderie of different social groups mixing together. Laughter, silliness, even the crude humor.- all worth it. And the best part, when dusk arrived.
As the dark rose over the yard, my husband and my now grown boys set the stage. This was their crowning moment. Hose at the ready, table set up dead center of the yard, and fireworks staged and ready to go. Reverence and silence as we gathered on the deck to watch. Three, two, one…and light and run. BOOM! POP! CRACKLE!
The skylight show has begun. For twenty to thirty minutes we oohed and aaah’d and dodged stray fireworks. Note to self: they leave a bruise.
The kids all got sparklers and waved them in the darkness, a shimmering salute to the end of a perfect day. Then the cops usually showed up. There’s always one neighbor who doesn’t like Independence Day. They like it less when the cops see that everything is being done safely, and that the big rockets were done before the Boca bedtime of 10pm. On several occasions the police were almost off duty, and hung around to have a burger and a beer. The neighbor’s did not look pleased. I guess we figured if the cops showed up, we had a great run.
This year marks a different turn for us. Having sold the house, the kids all growing up way too fast, we are just relaxing. We’ll do fireworks on the lawn at the county park. Just us, the two left at home, the blanket and a million fireflies and skeeters. We will enjoy the beauty of the explosive colors as they light the night sky, leaving a haze of smoky memory for us all. Here’s hoping your holiday weekend brings you peace, beauty and memories for a lifetime.
Stay caffeinated and motivated. 😉☕️