|Guy strikes again... white chocolate strawberries dipped in sugar.|
We headed out on foot just before dusk to go see the fireworks show at the nearby park. It was apparent after two house-lengths that I would slow the group down too much if I walked the whole way, so Guy drove me as close as he could get in the van and I got out and began walking. I slowly made my way as the crowd moved past me like a stream flowing around a rock. I got a text from Caroline, my youngest sister, wishing me a happy 4th. I don't know about her, but the 4th really reminds me of being with family, and of one 4th in particular.
I was about 10. My folks were cooking in anticipation of meeting up with our friends, the Kojima's, who had 5 kids. We were running late, and so to expedite things, my dad tried to loosen the seal on the pressure cooker full of corn-on-the-cob when it was done cooking.
The sound was deafening, and there were screams and yelling. We kids ran to the kitchen's swinging door but mom yelled at us to stay out. The cooker had blown its heavy lid straight into the air and the contents of the pot followed. The scalding water and corn hit my dad right in the face and bare chest on their way up, hit the ceiling, and came right back down on top of his shoulders and back. Mom, who stood a few feet behind him, was blasted in the face and neck. She ran to get burn cream, as my dad ran to the huge utility sink on the back porch, flipping the faucet on and plunging his head under the flow of water. In his confusion and pain, he had grabbed the hot water faucet, and didn't know he was holding his head under the hot water until my mother stopped him.
He spent 5 days in the hospital. His face turned black. The end of his nose came off. For years after that particular 4th of July, we reflected on the chaos of that year. It was a gentle reminder to be grateful that we had moved past that day, that the fear of it was behind us, and that everyone was well.
As I slowly made my way to the park last night, I thanked my sister via text for the well wishes, and told her I was walking on my own power to the park. She wrote back, "That's awesome! Enjoy tonight, it's great that you are alive! I was thanking God for that today. This could be a different holiday for the whole family if things went the other way for you or the baby."
I felt a little misty, but I held it back.
I sat on a boulder and rested while I waited for my family,
the throngs of merry-makers cruising past me.
Later, as the night sky lit up with fireworks and patriotic songs played, I sat and let the tears come. I hadn't thought beyond the gut wrenching possibility of leaving Guy and the kids alone. In the hospital I had talked to Guy about it; that I wanted him to find a mom for my kids, to fall in love and be happy, to enjoy his life. I hadn't thought about the impact it would have on the rest of my family, the feeling at holidays that we know so well since mom left; that hollow of someone being missing, year after year after year.
I wet the top of Natalie's head with my tears as she bellowed from the fireworks. I glanced around at my family, their eyes fixed skyward at the display, and I felt so immensely grateful to be viewing them there, from my chair on the grass beside them; part of them.
For me, this 4th of July
Our neighbors rented a 20 foot tall water slide.
Happy, happy kids!
Natalie, showing off one of her TWO pass-times;
sleeping and screaming her head off.
All dolled up for the festivities.
I had to include another shot of these...
they were just too beautiful to eat, but we did!
A craft project with the Jensen clan.
(Tessa, Kaylee, Owen and Ellie)
Jonah and Lauren
BBQ with Jensen's and Bush's!
Watching the sky... about 12 seconds before
Jonah fell sound asleep, just like last year!
Kathy and Bishop with baby Ryan. Can someone please explain how babies wake up if you tiptoe into the room while they're asleep, but can saw logs through a Grand Finale?
Ellie, Tessa, Lauren and Kaylee
Natalie, looking just as she did through the entire fireworks show, even though I held her close and kept my hands over her little ears. She is one little lady who lets you know how she feels!