The Fourth Day of July

At my house,

on the fourth day of July,

we will light the barbecue and the sparklers and the roman candles.

At my house,

on the fourth day of July,

we will swim and sun and read and nap.

At my house,

on the fourth day of July,

we will eat ribs and corn and homemade apple pie.

At my house,

on the fourth day of July,

we will remember and pray and give thanks to our God.

At my house,

on the fourth day of July,

we will climb in bed full of sunshine and ice cream and when we close our eyes we will still see exploding red and white stars behind our eyelids.

And at my house,

(because we are still hurting and smarting and aching from all the upheaval, I'll be honest)

on the fourth day of July,

we will remember that 1776 was among the darkest years of American history,

that good things come even in the darkest of times,

and above all,

that miracles happen.

Happy Independence Day.

Summer by the Numbers

[Editor's Note:  I wrote this post after the first half of our summer vacation, but never finished it.  I reread it again this morning and thought it was worth publishing for purely historical reasons (keeping the record and all that).  It is out-of-date and quite possibly of little interest to most of you.  I'm just sayin'.]

Last night I laid down on my own bed for the first time in 17 days.

The thermostat said 88.

The thermostat near the kids room said 91.  They slept in the family room with the fan on full blast.

We were home. 

Home from a cross-country trip of 5,280 miles

which adds up to about 86 hours sitting next to my husband while he drove me past country I've only read about in books.

On the way, somewhere in Indiana, our car quietly hit the 100,000 mile mark on the odometer and just kept going.  (Brilliant, Mr. Ford.)

We drove through 7 thunderstorms, the fiercest one in Birmingham, Alabama and enjoyed more gloriously sunny days than I can count.

I sat on the beaches of Michigan and Florida with my 4 brown children for 8 days and rubbed 10 bottles of sunscreen onto their gorgeous skin, over their bony shoulders, round bellies, and freckled noses.

I did 1 load of laundry every night.  Swim suits and towels only.

I filled 2 empty water bottles with sand, one with the grey, rocky sands of Lake Michigan, the other with the brilliant, white sugar of the Gulf of Mexico.  They are now sitting in my kitchen window as consolation.

On our way to the white sand beaches of Florida we passed Florida's highest hill at 345 feet above sea level.  I've never been anywhere so low to the ground as the gulf coast.  I imagined I was so low that I could hear the earth's heartbeat when I lay flat on the sugar sand with my ear to the ground.  It felt like I was back at the beginning, back at creation, when all there was was the slow, steady thump of the earth as it turned around its axis and the tides moving around and around to the beat.

And now some of the 941 pictures put to 2 songs in 1 movie.  My favorite line: "put the lonesome on the shelf."  My favorite part:  my kids dressed up like sugar donuts.  You can bet I tried to eat every one of them.

A Glorious Reprise

This morning after I finished my post about the glories of my summer, I went outside.  Savannah was in her grandparents' swing, pumping her legs in and out of the sunshine streaming through the maple leaves.  She was humming the chorus of "Angels We Have Heard on High," the glor-or-or-or-ia part.

I smiled deep.

And just a few minutes after that Olivia was making a "masterpiece" that looked remarkably similar to a ham sandwich.  When she closed the lid on the sandwich with the second piece of bread, she put it on a plate, held it high in the air and said to the room, "Look at my glory!"

David said, "Hallelujah."

Tonight in the last rays of a glorious gloaming, I floated behind my two youngest children and told them to hold on tight to the rope, to keep their elbows tucked in and their knees bent, and then I watched them take their first wobbly ski across a dark lake. 

And it was so glorious that I thought I could probably give those angels a run for their money.