Monday, July 19, 2010
One year home seems so significant right now. So many firsts, so many lasts. The kids have grown and changed and so have we. There are no babies in our family now; just little kids hungry to learn. They are always exploring, nearly fearless and genuinely enthusiastic. The country in which we spent seven days one year ago is, like us, not the same. The family in which our children spent their beginning is not the same. We have heard nothing from or about them, but wait with eager anticipation for news.
I am by nature sentimental, traditional, and resistant to change. But I too am not the same. I look to the future as the great adventure my kids seem to embrace. I know that for everything there is a time and a season. Each season will have smooth sailing and bumps in the road. There will be joys and triumphs as well as times when we need more help than we know how to find. We will be encouragers and need encouragement. If there is one thing I have learned in this past year, it is that change is good. We were not designed to stay the same. We were made to grow. Just as our children have become more like us(for better or worse), I must become more like my Father; embracing His values and doing things His way.
So how does a family celebrate? In our family, our only son has a birthday just 4 days after our home coming. This year he turns 5. We only have Birthday parties for 5, not 3, not 4, not 6, not 7. Only 5. So, on a hot evening we gathered in the back yard with a few friend, close family, 50 hot dogs, a huge watermelon and lots of fun. We played, sang Happy Birthday, ate cake and ice cream, then called it a night when the rain started. I can't think of a better way to celebrate family than with a birthday party for the newest five year old. It was a blast (at least for the five year old and his mommy).
Monday, July 5, 2010
I still stand for the National Anthem and so do my kids. We treat the flag with respect, honor soldiers, and learn all the words to the Pledge of Allegiance. Yet, still i feel a great lack of patriotism. I mean, less than my Grandfather's generation. My Granddad was US Air Force. He flew the planes we see in pictures and museums. He knows first hand the life saving value of a properly packed parachute. He served in war and in peace. He was the "true blue, all American man." He stood 6'2", but i thought he was at least 7' tall as i stood next to him on the street that day, probably 30 years ago, with his hat in his hand and his hand over his heart. Those colors marched by as proud as could be and so was I. My Grandpa helped make all this celebrating possible and I was sure proud of that. Here we are, 30 some years later living in the same country, but some how that "stand tall" feeling is not in the crowd the way it was then. The great grandpas are not here to brag and exaggerate a little with their stories of "the way it was." I want my kids to hear the hush of the crowd when the colors are raised. I want them to never feel comfortable sitting when the National Anthem is played.
I do not really know how this "feeling" of patriotism is passed on. When they are 6,4 and 3 can they understand? I don't know, but I dressed them in Red, White and Blue and told them a few things they may not remember then let them eat ice cream because this very special day is America's Birthday and we are proud to be Americans. They will probability remember the ice cream...