When I think of the fourth of July I think of my childhood. Every year we would go to my Grandparents farm and eat BBQ and blow off fire works. Our fourth was like a Norman Rockwell painting. A beautiful farm with family laughing and just enough hijinks happening to make it memorable.
When I was far too young, I learned how to blow off fireworks from my cousins Adam and Jay. Technically they are my first cousins once removed (I believe that is how it works) but whatever their relationship technically is to me, they were always just Cousin Adam and Cousin Jay. Adam and Jay were just a few years older than me, but that gap in age was just enough for me to look at them and just know… those boys knew everything and I could trust everything they said. Of course in retrospect it is a miracle that Adam and Jay didn’t seriously wound one of us younger cousins. And even when I close my eyes and think really hard, I can’t, for the life of me, remember there ever being an adult around while Adam and Jay taught us 4 younger cousins what a punk was, how to light black cats, and how long those black cats could sit on Adam’s tray before we needed to throw them. I still get that anxious feeling in my gut when I think about lighting the black cat and waiting for Adam and Jay to yell “THROW IT NOW!” Even with all that anxiety, I never once doubted their judgement. Adam and Jay were firework experts.
It has been a little over or a little under 2 decades since we have had a fourth of July like the ones I remember so clearly. This year some of us reunited to relive those 4th of Julys from the old days and it was perfect.
I think as a parent the most special moments are when things come full circle. I love watching my kids experiencing moments that I hold dear to me from my childhood. This fourth of July was like that for me.
This fourth of July my kids met Adam for the first time. The boys instantly fell in love with him. And for me, spending time with my cousin Adam as a peer was wonderfully different. Seeing Adam joke with Michael gave me a new perceptive of those fourth of July’s of old. Michael and Patrick vied for his attention just like, I am sure, my younger cousins and I used too. Michael was so taken with Adam and is still talking about how smart Cousin Adam is. We all laughed at Michael and Adam’s banter and nothing could have made me prouder than when Michael started spewing his random facts and then seeing Adam’s surprised reaction.
In addition to Adam and his parents (and I have no idea what their relationship to me is beyond the fact that Adam’s Mom is my Grandma’s sister) joining us for the fourth my Grandma’s Aunt Eldrice came out for the fun too.
Here is the closest photo we can take to five generations. It makes me smile from ear to ear.
I don’t know how many more fourth of July’s we will all be able to have together. We all live so far apart now and as families grow they naturally spread apart. This day was special to everyone that was present. I am so grateful for that day. So many things came full circle and the only thing that would have made it better would have been to have more cousins there. Maybe next year! It is a lot of work, and takes days of preparations, but I think after such a wonderful day we would all agree without hesitation that the miles travelled, the hours cleaning and preparing food and the cash spent on fireworks was worth it.