Monday, July 05, 2010

God at Work on Independance Day

As a kid the 4th of July was always fun from beginning to end. If we didn’t have a big barbecue with friends we were at our family cabin. We spent the afternoon either swimming or running around with friend, always looking forward to fireworks at night.

Now, as an adult who can’t drive and whose husband often works on holidays, I’ve had to redefine my idea of July 4th fun. I’ll confess that I was a little bummed out yesterday. It seemed like everyone had a plan for the day except me and my kids. My husband thought he would have the day off then found out that he had to work. I hoped and prayed that someone would call me and ask if I had plans then invite me and the boys to join their party (or picnic or barbecue) but no one did.

I worked hard to hide my funky mood, throwing around suggestions for how we could make the day fun until Dad got home. Finally, my oldest suggested that we call Grandma and Grandpa (my husband’s parents) and see if they wanted to do something. I’d been avoiding that idea, fearing that they might start feeling like I only called them when I needed something or didn’t have anything exciting to do. Instead, I sensed that they’d been waiting for an invitation just as I was. We took a walk around the local marina, barbecued burgers, and had ice cream for dessert. Between activities my boys taught Grandma and Grandpa, how to play some Wii games. Now that was fun to watch! As we wound down from the day I didn’t even mind skipping the fireworks (my husband had to get up early for work). We hadn’t had the day I’d hoped for but we’d had a great time. The whole thing also reminded me of something important.

Days like yesterday might not feel good at first but I benefit from them. More importantly, I think my kids benefit.

While I grew with an engrained idea of what holidays, weekends, and other special events should look like, my boys learned at an early age to be flexible. They don’t need fireworks and a blow-out barbecue to enjoy 4th of July. Just give them some poppers and make sure there is ice cream in the freezer. As my oldest son said, “I’ve never cared about holidays being a big party as much as doing something that we don’t do on every other day.”

They know how to make their own fun. Knowing that Dad might have to work and upset our plan, they understand the need for a Plan B and openness to a Plan C.

They consider others. It was my son who suggested calling Grandma and Grandpa while I was still feeling disappointed that nobody calling me.

Maybe we need disappointment in order to grow out of the tendency to be so easily disappointed. I have a feeling that our next Independance Day will be even better.


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