Friday, July 4, 2008
Just finished watching fireworks with S, sitting on our living room couch and feeling very blessed. (Our front window gives a decent vantage point for the big downtown show.) What a nice way to finish off a great day.
This morning, we took the kids to a local parade. It was very much a neighborhood affair, with amateur marching bands, kids on bikes, old cars, mounted police, firetrucks, and the like. This talented lady on stilts was my favorite!
The Sharks themed firetruck was pretty cool, too.
Sitting there on the curb, BJ in my lap, S and BB right beside us, I found myself utterly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with emotion. My heart was brimming and I was weeping before I fully realized what had happened, or why.
I grew up in a small college town, and the parade today was very much the kind of thing we would have gone to when I was a kid (and, in later years, I would have marched in myself). So there was an obvious nostalgia factor to the tears. It reminded me of home and made me long for my folks. (We missed you so much today, Pop-Pop and Giki!)
But it was more than that, I think. There's something really lovely about folks coming together for these sorts of homespun celebrations -- something both profound and simple. It does the heart good to wave at smiling strangers and have them wave back, to let your kid enjoy an Otter Pop given out by someone you don't know, to simply sit on the curb next to other families and folks, laughing and having a good time.
I thought about this as I overheard the guy next to me saying, "Oh, don't worry honey, she's crying too." I turned his way and realized that he was talking about me, telling the woman he was with that she shouldn't feel embarrassed. I had no idea my tears were so obvious, but I wasn't ashamed. It was one of those synchronicities that make life interesting, when little things take on larger symbolic significance. Soon thereafter, S was wiping at his eyes a bit, too. Seems I wasn't the only one moved by the magic of the moment.
In spite of all the horrors you read about in the paper, most of us have an enormous amount of goodwill towards one another, if only we are given a way to express it. Things like today's little parade remind us that in spite of how separate (and independent) we might feel, we are all part of this together, lucky to be here, lucky to be citizens of an amazing country and a miraculous world.
Happy 4th to all of you!