Monday, July 13, 2009

4th Festivities and Birthday Celebrations

We had a wonderful 4th of July. The day is extra special to me because it's also my birthday.

I have been around here for now 28 years. Whew! I don't even know what to think of that number. Thanks for all the well wishes on my birthday! Everyone made it an extra special day for me and I was totally spoiled! I got some WONDERFUL gifts for my special day including a mosquito net donated to Hope Aid International!!!

I have so many wonderful memories of the July 4th. It's always been a time of watermelon and ice chests.

Chasing fireflies. Lawn chairs and patchwork quilts.

Anxiously, waiting for the fireworks to start.

Family and good times. Just good ol' fashioned summer time fun that goes out with a big bang or lots of big bangs if you make it out to the shows. We never miss them.

Since I was little, I've been called a "firecracker baby", a "Yankee doodle", an "Independence baby" or a "little firecracker". It's just part of my childhood that lives on with me. I still here those words when someone finds out my birthday is on the 4th. It doesn't get old. I rather enjoy it. It's the one time of the year that no matter what we are doing, we are celebrating and there are times I still pretend it's all just for me.

I recall thinking that the song, Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen was my song-which was released 3 years after I was born. I remember hearing it blaring across the local parks we visited for years to come on the 4th. I just knew it had to be about me. Even though, most everyone else around was also born in the USA. Actually, I think that's the only Bruce Springsteen song that I recall. My radio listening days didn't come until much later when George Michael and Milli Vanilli was popular.

It was on my 15th birthday, that Chris and I officially went "out" together. He and his friend (now our friend) picked me and my cousin up at my Aunt and Uncle's house in his parent's 1992 blue Plymouth Voyager, the same van that we had our first in just a few weeks later, and we headed out the park to meet the rest of my family-the same park that I spent many years chasing down fireflies with my sister and cousins . We sat on the old patchwork quilt and attempted to flirt with each other using long blades of Oklahoma waving wheat. Okay, so it wasn't so much wheat as it was un-mowed grass, but the waving wheat sounded much more romantic. We officially became an item a week and half later on the 13th. Then, the following year on my birthday he gave me my promise ring, tucked safely inside an open rose that was floating in water.

As I get older, some things haven't changed while other things have. I still don't like watermelon but insist that we or someone else brings one. The old patchwork quilt is gone, but this year I dedicated a new one in it's honor-the quilt that the ladies from our old church congregation made for us after our house fire. The ice chests get filled with lots of ice and drinks. I've missed the firefies but am now getting to enjoy the moment with my daughter. And laughter and good times still fills the warm, summer air.

While my focus use to be on me turning another year older and of course as a kid, the presents!

this year has been different. As I watched my daughter on the patchwork quilt, I remembered the times with my family. As watermelon dripped on her clean shirt, I wondered if she would remember these times someday when she smelled the fresh scent of a ripe watermelon. When I watched her run around and giggle, I thought of the years to come and the wonderful times we were going to have. And as the fireworks began, I thought of our freedom. Our freedom that has not come free.

I remembered the gun salute at my Uncle's funeral many, many years ago. With every boom, I thought of our friend, who was with Chris and I on our first "date", that recently finished his tour with the Army and how each boom takes him back to a place he once was. He would never take credit for being a hero and would probably deny it in every way, but just like all the other men and women who have given themselves to keep our land free, he is. Not many of us would sign up to sign up to be away from our families, travel to some of the most dangerous places, and do the things required to stay alive like our soldiers do every day.

My star spangled hat goes off to the soldiers and their families and I continue to pray for those around the world who aren't free.

Here are some pics from our night, without captions. Although, one in particular should be captioned. I don't know the guy, but couldn't help but take his picture!!!


Domestic Goddess said...

LOVE this post! I so cried reading it, yeah, yeah, doesn't take much but your memories are so sweet. And the pictures are awesome! I love the picture of Chris giving you the promise ring, so sweet. You both are so cute and young!Your baby pictures are priceless, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I LOVED reading them and I am so happy that your birthday was great and especially that you are older than me now, LOL!

Tracy said...

your 15th birthday - that is just too sweet!! I met Tony when I was 15 too, maybe that is a good year for meeting a husband! Happy Late Birthday!!!!!!!!! (and keep your eyes out on my blog for a new one, got some news you might be interested in...)

Jill Foley said...

Great pics! 28 is so young!! Enjoy it - I'm fast approaching 35....yikes!

Love what you wrote, too.

Please post again soon : )

Steve said...

28 ... just a little girl! ;o) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Tara Erickson said...

Happy Belated Birthday! 28...hmmm I remember that age...that was before I had kids...years ago!
Loved reading what you wrote, so very cool! The pics are great too.

Da MiMi said...

Loved the post and we just won't eeeeeven talk about age :)

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