Thursday, July 4, 2013

One of My Favorite Days

(LOVE the flags placed around the neighborhood on certain holidays.)

About 11 years ago, I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting (Sunday church meeting) about patriotism. It was one of my favorite talks I've ever given. I've thought about that talk a lot in the past couple of years, and wondered if I'm still being as deliberate in teaching my children patriotism now as I was back then. (Teaching one child is so much easier than teaching 5!)

When I say patriotism, I mean. Am I teaching them to love America? Teaching them the songs and symbols that are part of our history? Instilling in them a love and respect for the great country they live in?

For years, each July 4th, we make sure to sing the national anthem, and stand outside by our front porch flag and do the Pledge of Allegiance. Except as I thought about it, I realized the last 2 years with the rush of a parade and the preparations for the Traditional Water Baseball BBQ, it's slipped off our radar.

It's only one thing among many, but still. It makes me sad.

Each month, I rotate the children's books on our family room shelf. For example, in March I bring down our Dr. Seuss books, and in July I bring down our patriotic/America themed books. My purpose is because those are the books the little boys grab from when asking me to read a book, and the books the other kids grab when lazily resting on the couch.

I guess Joshua "got" the book, "Happy Birthday America" I read to him a few days ago...

The other night, Joshua and Drew were scrunching up massive piles of paper, in addition, while I was focused on another task, Joshua kept asking me about the "England Flag" (meaning the Union Jack).

The result?
A creative game of Revolutionary War. I looked over and Joshua was on one side of the family room proudly displaying his homemade 'England Flag' and Drew was on the other side with an American Flag. They were each chucking white paper "bombs" at each other, while each surrounded themselves in a barricade of kitchen chairs, and Joshua declaring, "I am fighting for England. You are fighting for America. We are going to be FREE!"
They're learning about America. Just perhaps not in the way I intend...

On another note, today is one of my favorite days of the year. (My birthday, wedding anniversary and Thanksgiving being my other absolute favorites.) Everything is different this year. For various reasons we postponed our Traditional Water Baseball BBQ to July 24th. There is no hustling and bustling around prepping for a party. Just a houseful of sleeping children due to a late night of fireworks and a husband who left with the rising of the sun to work.

I returned home from the gym this morning, feeling a little bit melancholy that we don't have grand plans for one of my favorite days. I don't even have burgers in the freezer to grill! I cranked up my itunes patriotic playlist, made homemade waffles and sat alone at the kitchen table enjoying my solitary breakfast.

As some of my favorite tunes played in the background, I sat in the spot at the table that affords me one of my favorite views. I stared out at the beautiful green mountains, with sounds of freedom, liberty and America coming from nearby speakers. While enjoying the sights and surrounds around me, and savoring my waffle with strawberries and whipping cream, I thought about why I loved America.

I then began a mental list of all the reasons I'm glad that on March 29th, 1988, my family left England with no return ticket.

It was a bittersweet morning.
(Lexington, MA)

Happy July 4th!


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