Friday, July 5, 2013

How Do You Ignite a Love for Family?

It was the lightning bugs and the laughter last night. That's what stands out the most. 

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.

7 comments:

Floyd said...

I love the description of a day that could be the setting for a movie. We're out of town, beat and tired got the best of me and I dropped the ball in a big way... Your post is a reminder that I need to reignite the love torch in my family...

DaisyTea said...

I just love those precious moments shared with my little family. Thank you for the poetic & beautiful description of the time you spent with yours. I'm so happy for you guys being in a new house. God sure is good! <3 Blessings!

Jayne said...

We had a monsoon on the 4th, here in Georgia. Most of the firework shows were canceled. We instead, played games, had a scavenger hunt and made homemade ice cream. I was just glad to be with family.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Ah, Floyd, I get that. I have those tired days too. Don't you love the freedom of second, third, and eight million re-dos? :)

Thanks.
Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, DaisyTea. I am so sorry but I can't seem to be able to link back to your blog. I want to find you to comment. Please let me know how I can find your blog. :)

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Jayne,

Wow, a monsoon there? Family games, scavenger hunts, and home=made ice cream sounds lovely too though. :)

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Kara said...

We've just spent a lot of time with my parents and brother. To enjoy family I try to sit back and watch my kids interact with each other, with their dad, and with my parents. I love watching relationships bloom. Love your writing - I've been off of the internet for the last few weeks due to moving, and I have missed reading your posts!