We’re out and about this week, so I thought I’d just give you a little peek into our holiday…
The Fourth of July usually means we take the 8-hour drive to go to my parents’ house in Oklahoma. It’s a lovely place on the lake, previously owned by my mom’s mom–Grandma Mary, and my memories of this place stretch back as far as I can remember–we’ve always been here. As a kid, finding cicadas in the trees, walking through the woods, and exploring the dam, finding frogs by the rocks, and being warned of water moccasins in the murky water. Crawdads and catfish. Good times.
When my grandmother passed away a couple of years ago, my parents were thankfully able to buy the house, and moved from a 3-level house in bustling Maryland to the tiny 1-story house on the lake. They downsized, they remodeled, they added and altered, but it still has that happy feeling.
So my sister drives the 20-plus hours to visit, and we’re stationed 8 hours away in Texas, and we all meet up at the lake. And we try to do all the things we loved as a kid, just a taste, and then some new things to add to the mix.
My uncle takes us for a ride on his boat, and we look at the fancy villas and wonder which house we’d choose if we had a billion dollars to spare.
The family plays out in the lake. I usually stay on the sidelines, keeping my pale white skin out of the sun, doodling, and throwing sticks in the water for our dog to bring them back. Sometimes I join in, but mostly I love to watch and listen. It’s my favorite thing.
And admittedly, my face is in my sketchbook a lot of the time, but I can’t help it–I love listening to everything. When grandma was alive, my husband could pull stories from her that I’d never have even thought to ask, and I’d sketch and listen, afraid to ruin the flow, and it was my very favorite thing. I always wished I could get her to tell stories like he could, but I’m so grateful I got to hear them nonetheless.
We weren’t allowed to play with fireworks much (beyond sparklers and snakes) when I was younger, and probably for good reason. The one time my dad let me try at about Myla’s age now, I got burned across the chest by an errant wonky bottle rocket. So there’s that. But my sister is always careful now to buy the little ones, the fun ones that Myla can join in on, and a few fancy bigger ones, and we sit by the lake popping little fireworks.
Because we lead a fairly nomadic army life now, I don’t always get to be this close to my family (if 8 hours is “close”), so I’m grateful for the time we have. I’d love to visit all the other family, but I’ll take what we can get. We’re used to being far from friends and family. My husband is still deployed, but heading back soon, thankfully. It’s not easy, but it’s life…so when we have it within visiting distance, it’s definitely worth the trip.
Gratitude and love and good memories. What do your 4th memories look like? Where are your happy places?