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Independence Day in a Bottle

Today, July 4, 2012 is over. Well, mostly over. The kids are playing Dr. Mario on the Wii , my husband is asleep on a stuffed animal on the living room floor and I’m in here typing my blog. For all intents and purposes this was an excellent day, albeit not a “regular” July 4 by any means.

“… when I started thinking about today, it saddened me to realize this is the first July 4 on record that we didn’t have fireworks or go see fireworks or have anything to do with fireworks.”

I think one of the significant differences of working from home is that holidays seem to come and go almost like every other day. Weekends are the same, except generally Sunday because we go to church in the morning, which shakes things up a bit. I remember when I was young, July 4 meant pool time, watermelon, usually some kind of potluck thing or barbeque with friends and fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. My mother usually made some creative red, white and blue dessert and it was always an intensely family-oriented day, something I really looked forward to as we celebrated our country’s history and our Forefathers’ wisdom and courage.

Today, shortly after I rolled out of bed at 10 a.m. after another measly four hours of sleep, while I was making my breakfast protein shake (the kids had already eaten on their own), I spoke with my young ones a bit about what this particular holiday means. When my 6-year-old asked questions, her older brother began to detail about the explorers, the settlers, the colonies. Freedom of religion and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I really just sat there are stared at him, sucking on my straw, still blinking the sleep out of my eyes,  marveling in awe. It was pretty clear to me at that point that I am not smarter than a 5th grader (Or, an almost 6th grader, anyway).

After I finished my meal in a jar, we all began cleaning. Picking up random clutter, cleaning rooms, doing the dishes, vacuuming the floors, etc. The fruit of my loins were not thrilled to be taking part in this very special Independence Day activity, but my mother will be in town tomorrow night and having the house look like someone picked it up, shook it, and put it back down when she gets here is not something that even I, Domestically Challenged Goddess of America (which sounds appropriately patriotic for the day, by the way), can think of too fondly.

I’m happy that my mother is not judgmental. She knows me well enough to know that when she gets here, there will be a closet (or two) that overflows when she opens it, and that in general, cleaning is not one of my natural talents. I remember when I was young, my mother got to the point where she was just happy if I kept my door to my room closed (I didn’t understand what the fuss was about, after all I DID have a path from the door to my bed and from the bed to the dresser. Perfectly functional, right?!).

With the help of a friend who came over around 2p.m. (THANK YOU CARLA!), by the time my husband got home after 5:30, I was shampooing the rug in the front room, all the clean laundry was put away, the kids’ rooms were mostly done, they had actually eaten a real lunch, and the meat for dinner was marinating in a bowl on the counter in a mostly clean kitchen.

I almost felt domestic.

But, you know. I am looking at my day today, and I wonder how much of my domestic ineptness stems from me being too spread out rather than just undisciplined? I’m not totally sure. Some days I think I am a bit of a flibbertigibbit and THAT is the core of all my issues, and then other days, like today where I accomplish a lot (when I am not pulled away by my work), I think my regular task load surely must be impossible for any normal human being to complete.


What kind of Independence Day comes without fireworks?

I wonder if I will ever find a happy medium, some sort of balance that will allow me to better juggle my personal, professional and domestic duties without dropping so many balls. My friend Michelle recommended Fly Lady to me last year, and I took another look at it tonight. I think I’m gonna give it a whirl to help at least with the cleaning side of things. Shiny sink, here I come!

Speaking of ball dropping, when I started thinking about today, it saddened me to realize this is the first July 4 on record that we didn’t have fireworks or go see fireworks or have anything to do with fireworks. I did drive past the Fireworks tent at Wal-mart twice this week, but I don’t think that really counts. Thinking back to how excited I always was to see July 4 fireworks,  I wonder how much me not doing stuff like this is going to affect my kids and their attitudes about participating in holiday activities when they get older.

From the time I was young, and all the way through high school and even college, I would get the little feeling of joy in my tummy when I thought about laying down a blanket and staring up at the  sky, watching with wonder as the pyrotechnics flashed and the noises rang through the air; the sky exploding with colors and  light. For me, it has always been kind of an intensely personal experience; I find it hard to accurately describe.  But this year, we didn’t have anything to do with fireworks. And the kids didn’t notice.

When my husband got home, he grilled the food I had marinated, and we ate together as a family at the dining room table, a rare treat. At the beginning of the meal, my husband asked the kids if they knew about the meaning of this holiday.  It was kind of  funny to see a repeat of earlier, my son re-explaining to his sister and describing the colonies and how the US was so skinny because there were only 13 states at the time. And as we were sitting there eating, and laughing and talking during the meal, I realized that in spite of not having sparklers or going to watch fireworks or partaking in any sort of traditional July 4 celebration, that this was probably one of my most favorite July 4 holidays ever. Not the cleaning part, but the being totally engaged with my kids all day part. We accomplished a lot and then after we cleaned, we got to hang out and talk and laugh and just be a family.

I wish I could bottle this feeling I have now as I am thinking about this day and save it for later. I would keep it on my dresser so I could see it every day when I get dressed.  I would tape a white label on the side — a label that would have a single word scrawled on it with a blue Sharpie marker. I would look at the bottle and be reminded of the blessings I have that God gave me through my children.  The label would simply read: “Fireworks.”

More adventures tomorrow…

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Posted in Blogging, Cleaning, Holidays, Life Events, Life Skills, Parenting, Personal Growth, Summer, Summer, The New Me.

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  1. Mom says

    Yep, I remember the trips we made to watch the fireworks, the ice chest we packed and the fun you guys had at the arcade and the rides before the fireworks started. Those were memorable times. The kids will always remember the good times when they get older, so don’t fret if you didn’t do fireworks this year. We couldn’t since it has been so dry, we probably would have had a FIRE (and that would not have worked well with the dry grass!).

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