We started the day meeting Jason at the end of his Independence Day Race in Ridgefield, WA....(in which I can proudly say he came in 3rd overall and 1st in his age group!!!) Next, after a long line, was the Firefighters Associate Pancake Breakfast at the Community Center. It was well worth the wait to see the boys happily devouring their stacks of pancakes loaded with syrup. We walked to the park, then rushed over to catch the beginning of the parade, for which we found a front row spot. It was pure joy to watch the boys practice their manners while politely waving side by side in their matching t-shirts, yelling out "Over here, please!" Even Anna Ruth would wave from Papa's arms. I think they scored more candy from the parade than at Halloween. Someone gave them a little bucket, and while they collected candy, Anna Ruth happily organized the candy back and forth from the diaper bag into the bucket and back. They even got a few "neck-a-lasses", as Caleb would explain. Caleb commented at one point, "This parade is really enjoyable." :-) Following the parade, we strolled the town, and went to the playground to watch the boys play while Anna Ruth once again organized the candy. Lunch of gyros and pizza came next, followed by cotton candy and red, white, and blue shortcakes. (Caleb earned his by knowing the first president, and Emet by telling Papa the colors of the flag on his shirt. Orange, white and blue were a close first!)
As we sat in the shade on the lawn, a midst the chaos of the crowd, Jason and I commented how much fun we were having. Funny, considering all we were doing was wandering around together as a family absorbing the day with no agenda in particular. Or just maybe that's the point. You can't really "fit in" fun. You just have to really be where you are at.....no time-slots, no to-do list running in the back of your head. Jason commented, "You know? I think if you can just be here in the midst of this and just enjoy it, you've arrived."
After coming home, we took a leisurely afternoon nap, ate PB&J for dinner, rode quads, and after putting Anna Ruth to bed, the rest of us went out and played 2 on 2 football in the driveway. Papa and Mama vs Caleb and Emet. We shared some good laughs watching Emet tear off with the ball in the wrong direction, the boys needing to change from a green ball to a red ball in the middle of the game (one was Emet's...one Caleb's), or Mama waddling in for a touchdown. Most of all, it was just plain fun.
After bath time, we watched a few fireworks outside before heading upstairs for snuggles. Just before heading inside from the fireworks, Caleb said to me, "Mama. I really enjoyed sitting out here with you and watching the fireworks. Thank you for inviting me." Ah, how this made my Mama's heart smile.
Tomorrow begins the long summer work days at Mt Hood for Jason, and consequently some long days for the children and I. But this was one of those days we can ride on for a while, a bit of refreshment to prepare us for the journey ahead. And for this, I am thankful. It is another experience to treasure in my heart, even if my camera was absent.