Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Independence Day...my four favorite holidays. Can you have four favorite holidays? I'm starting to sound like my kids when they say things like, "Hey Mom. What's your 756th favorite color? Mine is puce." The simple truth of this matter is that I love the opportunity to enjoy a holiday with family and friends. Things like tradition, celebration and community warm my heart. I realize how very cliche that is, but I don't care. Cliches are usually rooted in truth anyway.
We have enjoyed an amazing weekend. On Friday, we headed to a random field beside the road next to the main post office to watch Red, White and Boom. We are so incredibly spoiled in central Ohio to have this phenomenal display of fireworks (acclaimed to be the best in the mid-west). I've not seen another like it in the five states in which I have lived and celebrated this holiday. The location where we watched was perfect. We weren't downtown, but we were close enough to see everything (well, not the ground display, but you have to be die-hard to get close enough for that). Eric's parents joined us this year, which was a nice treat. We sat in a buggy, freshly mowed weed field right beside Dublin Road for 3.5 hours wearing sweatshirts because it was rather chilly, and it was more than worth it! I love fireworks!!!
Interestingly enough, fireworks make me emotional. Am I the only one who tears up thinking about the thousands of men and women who have paved the way for our freedoms? Patriotic songs pull at my heartstrings. This year's display was even more emotional for me because they included Amazing Grace. Oh. My. Gosh. It was so beautiful. They shot white fireworks into the sky that looked absolutely angelic along with purple and red to symbolize royalty and sacrifice. This is what I love about mid-western living. In one fireworks soundtrack, you can be reminded of the soldiers who fought for our freedom, your first love, the joys of summer, the best football team in the land and the God who we all should be worshiping. I guess that's a little more than mere patriotism to some, but it describes perfectly for me what this holiday weekend is all about (okay, so I'm not completely sold on the Buckeyes thing, but, in central Ohio, it's all apart of who we are, whether we like it or not).
Plus, there's always the shout out to the Russians that has become such an integral part of our American celebrations. Yes, yes, I know that the 1812 Overture has become an American tradition, but being one of the few people who actually knows some of the lyrics to "God Save the Czar" kind of makes me think that there are a lot of other tunes out there that would suit our patriotic fireworks display a little better. I'm not die-hard on this. I just find it to be quite humorous.
Continuing our weekend of celebration, yesterday we were able to enjoy our annual tradition of watching the Lincoln Village parade with family and friends. I believe I counted 25 of us enjoying the parade together this year when I looked at my photos, but I may have missed someone(Technically, I missed Dawn, but that's because she wasn't there). We always meet in the same place. The kids sit on a tarp with plastic grocery bags at the ready, and they leave with those bags filled with more candy than they could (or should) consume in three months time. There is always shouting in favor or against political candidates as well as lots of cheering for the bands, especially since they didn't get to march last year due to the failed levy which has now passed. We are thankful. It was great to watch Kyle marching the bass drum for the first time as a freshman in Westland's marching band. Watching the Lincoln Village parade is probably one of my favorite 4th of July traditions because of the people with whom we get to watch it. When you're in good company, everything is better!
We were in good company again in the afternoon and evening when we had friends over for a cook-out. We have grown to enjoy our friends, Jamie and J'Nessa, so much. Their kids are extremely well behaved, and they play so well with our children. They beg to see each other. Triniti and Ava have become best friends, and the boys adore each other as well. Little Sammi just kind of bops around with them as well. She's adorable. The grown-ups played games and talked while the kids played in the pool. We enjoyed great food together. We popped in a movie and played another game once it was too dark and buggy to be in the back yard. We talked so much about whatever came to mind that we were slightly distracted during the games, but, you know, that's even better sometimes, isn't it? It was a perfect afternoon and evening with friends who we have come to appreciate so much. We're thankful for them in so many ways.
Today, we're a little tired, but it's a good kind of tired. The kids both slept late(and so did we), which is unheard of for Lukas. They're splashing in their wading pool right now. More quality family time is the only plan for the day along with our annual tradition of watching the Hilliard fireworks in front of Burger King with friends. This has been a perfect Independence Day weekend.
Yesterday, as we were driving home from the parade, I began to think about how much I love our Independence Day weekend traditions here in Columbus, how much I enjoy that our kids are connected to two and three generations of other families who have been friends of the McEvoys for over 35 years, and how great it is to have such blessings in our lives. As I think about our future and our calling to return to vocational ministry, and even that we have an interview this coming week at a church, I realize that I will miss celebrating with these friends and family in future summers. Of course, I'm ready to go when the Lord pushes us in His decided direction, but I won't be going without a little touch of sadness in my heart. Weekends like this allow me to reflect on these great blessings. I'm not worried about missing them as I have learned that the Lord provides for all our needs wherever we are. I just know that I will miss them, but even that is a blessing. We have some great people in our lives. No matter where we are, we'll always be blessed to have them.