Saturday, July 5, 2008

"Born In the USA (ay, ay, ay)"

I like that song. The way Bruce Springsteen kind-of sings/yells the lyrics! "Born in the USA... I was... born in the USA"
And aren't we so glad! As I was sitting on the pool deck at my Dad's house, watching Alan, James, and the kids light off the big fireworks, I of course felt the pride welling up inside. Today has brought a mixture of memories, feelings of thankfulness and blessings, as well as sentiment of we have right here... how long we've had it... and wondering how much longer we will have it still. Family. Freedom. Faith. We sit around in lawn chairs, surrounded by beautiful green land, mature trees, ponds, the creek. Family everywhere. My eyes scan the lawn. Dad is watching over the smoker full of meat. Everyone waits for him to come walking over to the table with the slabs of meat, ready to be sliced and shared. I see my blond-headed babies jumping in the pool, grinning all the way in and coming up out of the water with that same grin still plastered on their faces. My good-lookin' husband standing over the grill, perfecting the corn on the cob, drinking his Coca-cola Classic. There is my Grandpa, celebrating his 80th birthday, next to my Grandma, sitting in the same lawn chairs they've had since I was a little girl. The long lounging chairs that allow her legs to stretch out. As a girl I would sit on the end of the chair next to my Grandma's legs. She would play with my long blond hair, and we would talk about stickers or Cabbage Patch Kids or whatever craft she or I was working on. I see one of my brothers, whom I have loved dearly his whole life. He is standing next to his new wife. I am missing my other brothers and their families who live too far away to be here with us. I see my Aunts and Uncles, who, growing up, were a big "light" in my world. Their bodies are aging, with gray splashed through their hair. Instead of playing with us kids, they are now looking after their own grandkids. My cousins and I have taken on the role our parents once had... the role of swimming and lighting off the firecrackers with the kids. Our kids. Feeling of happiness, pride, void, and love, all mixed together.

The 4th of July has always been one of the most important holidays for my family growing up. It is my Mom's birthday. We have always spent the day with family. Eating, playing in the pool or the lake, and lighting off fireworks. For many people it is a day to celebrate freedom. For us it is equally a day to celebrate family and my Mom. Of course today we all spent time thinking about her and missing her. Wishing she was here. Knowing her personality, it's no surprise that she was thought of as the "firecracker" in the family. My Dad said he wanted today to be a celebration of her TRUE independence.

As the firecrackers were going off up in the air, I looked beyond the sparks to the stars that filled the sky. Freedom. We have it because we were "Born... in the USA." And we have it because God has given it to us. I suppose we don't have complete freedom, but we do have the freedom to be complete. We don't have the freedom to keep our kids from growing up so fast. We don't have the freedom to keep our Grandparents from getting old. We don't have the freedom to prevent cancer from taking the life of the ones we need the most. But we have the freedom to choose to persevere though this thing called life. We have the freedom to love God, have faith in Him, and trust that He is always here for us. We have the freedom love hard, and to live to the fullest. Family, freedom, and faith. Three words I thought alot about today.


Margo said...

Very nicely written...awesome! I'm glad you were able to celebrate with your family. I'll see you soon!

Jodie said...

That was beautiful. It brought a small tear to my eye. (surprised?) I really wish that we could have been there. Sorry that we weren't. You have such a God given perpective. Love ya.