(That's...what I was wearing today. Don't judge me.)
There's something about the Fourth of July that brings out the giddy little kid in me. I didn't realize it until this year, either. Something fun about the idea of barbecue, wearing the national colors, and watching the fireworks surrounded by friends and family. I get all excited, and a little choked up, and I'm not even sure why.
Granted, this year was pretty staid, as far as celebrations go. We had an ENORMOUS meal at my grandpa's house, and I even made peach cobbler (which was REALLY good...I blame the cast iron for that...). But it was raining at my grandpa's house, and it didn't feel like July, and it was easy to be ho-hum and irritated about the whole thing.
But...you know what? I love this country. Sure, I don't always agree with the direction it's going. And sure, I don't think we're always right. And sure, I feel stupid by default sometimes in foreign countries when I tell them where I'm from.
But I'm also related to several veterans, and friends with several more. And I can still appreciate the image of the flag waving in the breeze. And I'm not so jaded that I can't get down on my knees and thank God for a country where we're free enough to complain without fear of arrest. And I can still get a little choked up when I sit on the roof, wearing several layers in July, and listen to the explosions all up and down the coast and hear the cheering and KNOW that all across the nation there are millions more voices cheering, too.
I can still appreciate what has been done for me, and is CONTINUING to be done for me every day by people braver than I am. I may be a prospective hobbit wife, but I can still appreciate all that.
And for the record? Someday, my Fourth of July celebrations are going to be epic. There will be an enormous and thoroughly casual barbecue with free-flowing drinks and more peach cobbler than you could ever imagine. And when the darkness sets in, there will be a campfire for roasting homemade marshmallows and laughing and chatting and telling stories. Churning ice cream, checkered tablecloths, and most of all: good friends. Watching the fireworks blasting overhead and thanking God for who we are, what we are, and how we are free to live.
God bless America.