Today is the 4th of July and I can hear my neighbors out with their friends and families, while me and mine stay tucked in our house, watching The Cat in the Hat, Dick and Independence Day. Shawn is brewing beer and I am sorting digital photos. Grace is helping him (interspersed with checking in on the kittens, eating watermelon & blueberries with cool whip, and tinting sugar cookie dough with red & blue to make stars). We are just about to grill up our share of the 150 million hot dogs that will be eaten today.
Shawn mentions he feels a bit guilty for not going to any of the friendly backyard BBQs we were invited to (did you know there were 74 million Americans who participated in one last year?). We are enjoying our solitude. Later we will quietly acknowledging the bombs bursting in air, and huddle closer as Will Smith saves the planet from aliens with a computer virus. We will still count ourselves in the number of those who participate in a BBQ, but this year it’s just “we three”.
I feel a pang of sadness as I think, “Grace would love to be somewhere racing around with other kids,” but then she comes up to me, placing her hand on my arm as I hear a little boys voice fill the air with “You Say It’s Your Birthday” and she tells me she has turned on her Kids Beatles CD, “so we can get the party started”. Off she dances and I smile to myself, admiring her independent spirit.
There are plenty of other days when we share ourselves with the world at large, days when I don’t feel like socializing and she does, times when Daddy really wants us to go to a party, evenings when I have to drag them both out to a park for a picnic. But for the most part we tend to agree with Dorothy: there is no place like home… in this land of the free!
Happy Birthday America!