I think we are going to be exhausted from today for a looong time. By far the best Fourth of July we have had in quite some time!
One of the reasons we returned home in time for the Fourth of July was that there is little to celebrate overseas. One can have their own small celebrations, but with a small embassy that grows smaller every day, there are fewer and fewer people to invite. Also, most of them are probably busy with the 'official' embassy event. And, yes, for whatever reason, these events do not include children.
I am frustrated by this from a different perspective than normal. I would be happy to get a sitter if this were any other time. However, we are sent overseas to represent our country and on the 4th of July, we attempt to share our celebration with the host country. What better way than to incorporate our children? Instead of relegating them to a few weak sparklers at the end of the day, shouldn't we be teaching them why we go overseas? What better way for them to learn how to share the truly special points than to have them at the celebration?
So, since my children were not welcome (again), we decided it would be better to show them a truly American celebration: in America. We spent the day boating on the Chesapeake, swimming on isolated beaches and being stung by jellyfish (all American fun!). Captain Mark enjoyed showing off his new boat (Shannon, enter description again here ________). I can simply say it is big, it has a motor and going fast at night puts the kids to sleep extremely quickly!
After a return trip home to wash up we went back out on the boat and headed towards Galesville, MD. We docked at Pirate's Cove and enjoyed scrumptious crab cake dinners. The girls were adventurous and despite never having tried crabcakes before, ended up nearly cleaning my plate! Cait had tasted crab before, but never mixed with so many other flavors. Kelsey, well, no explanation necessary there!
It started to rain a little after dinner as we walked through the town, so we donned our red, white and blue ponchos. After the rain stopped, Cait alternated between investigating the small beach and dancing with Kelsey to the music blaring over the loudspeaker. I am not sure where they have learned their "moves", but they were quite artistic and will come in handy at their dansskoli in the fall!
The parade started a little late, but was truly much fun. Uncle Sam teetered down the road, followed by the requisite fire department personnel and ambulance with their sirens blaring. Antique cars, kids on trikes and even boats (towed, of course) followed behind.
I felt a few tugs at my heartstrings as I realized just how long it had been since I had enjoyed such a display. Despite everything going on in the world, and even the country, people were able to engender their non-partisan patriotism for a few minutes. Even better, my children were able to watch and see how people celebrated the birth of their country with nothing more than paper decorations and a little creativity.
After the parade, we headed back to the boat and floated out a little bit. After nightfall, (yes, it is DARK here - Jen can sleep at long last!) we watched quite an elaborate display of fireworks. I would guess it lasted well over half an hour. We raced home ("going fast" is the new request for Captain Mark) in the dark with the warm breezes flowing and sleepy heads nodding. Without a doubt, quite the Fourth!
Great Quote of the Day: After being slathered with lotion, Caitlin ran outside. Five minutes later, sufficiently hot and already sweaty, she ran back inside and announced to Shannon,
"This sunscreen isn't working! I'm still hot!"
Or how you know they haven't had a really hot summer in quite a while....