Friday, July 5, 2013
How Do You Ignite a Love for Family?
In between are glimpses of grandparents arriving, of jostling elbows in the kitchen as we rinsed black dirt from tiny fresh garden beets, stirred spiral garlic pasta around green peas, and frosted a birthday cake. Seven of us crowded around our scuffed cherry wood table. As steam rose from dishes in the center, we held hands and prayed for our nation, soldiers and leaders, and for countries around the world in upheaval right now.
After lunch, four-year old Daniel could barely contain his excitement as we inflated five colorful balloons, and marched three of his Lego Star Wars characters across cream cheese frosting.
"I couldn't find the candles, sorry. But, hey, try to blow down this Lego guy." One of three remained from my decorated march. Mark groaned and laughed at my improvisation. We sang Happy birthday, and Daniel sang along in full seriousness.
We combined the Fourth of July with Daniel's birthday, a few days early, while his brother and sister were here on a short break from working at camp.
"Daniel, my present to you is all of my Legos," she said, as comprehension and amazement slowly spread across his face. In the box was a childhood's worth of Legos. My tall lanky daughter's Legos. "Many of these I bought with my own money," she told Daniel proudly. He stared in wonder.
We passed our day in rounds of food, it seemed. Birthday cake, chips and salsa, gallons of Grandpa's home-made popcorn, tall iced teas floating overly-zealous amounts of crushed mint leaves from my garden, and creamy cold Vietnamese coffee drinks. Three generations of family interspersed stories, questions, and a series of Rook, Osha, and Cribbage games.
The dark arrived with whizzing firecrackers and distant firework rumbles. Too tired from the busy week to fight traffic for a parking spot somewhere, we had chosen to watch a family movie instead. As fireworks thundered, though, we slipped out to the back deck. Crimson and aquamarine bursts rippled across the sky, hidden slightly by the trees and gas station across the street. Lightning bugs danced across our lawn for the first time, delighting us and bringing back memories of childhood. Daniel slept, my parents joined us on the deck for a few minutes, but mostly it was just the four of us: my husband, son, daughter and I. Four adult-sized figures swatted mosquitoes, wrapped arms around each other, laughing in easy camaraderie at our squeals of delight. Fireworks splashed the sky from two or three directions, as nearby towns celebrated, and we watched them in joy on our deck. We're thankful for this new home -- a year later-- and thankful for so much.
The last of the creamy sweet Vietnamese coffee condenses in the glass beside me now today, while lawn mowers hum in the distance.
I love hearing from you. What has your last week been like? What helps you rekindle a love for family?
Linking with Ann at A Holy Experience.