Our last Fourth of July
The 4th of July is one of my all time favorite holidays. It also marks our T-minus one month mark for leaving.
I spent this morning thinking about how my next 4th of July wont be in this country. Will we have some sort of party or will we simply let the day pass us by? I’m sure I will see all my friends on Facebook donning their Red, White and Blue, enjoying BBQ and watching firework displays. I wonder how I will feel.
In College and Law School I spent my 4th of July’s on the National Mall in Washington, DC. In high school I spent my 4th of July at Camp participating in the camp olympics, a break from normal activities for some friendly sport competition. Growing up it was the day we were literally forced to spend family time together. The Peachtree Road Race, the worlds largest 10k road race, literally, prevents us from leaving the neighborhood. We would walk up to the top of the neighborhood and cheer on runners, visit with neighbors and just enjoy celebrating America.
This morning I was able to share a much wetter version of my Peachtree Road Race memories with the boys as we spend our last 4th of July, for a while at least, in the US. The rain was the perfect reminder that this would be our new normal. We donned our rain jackets and umbrellas and cheered on runners from under a small awning, all the time remarking how we “better get used to this.”
I took a bunch of pictures so I can remind them of the holiday when we are abroad. Today feels like the first step in helping the kids navigate their cultural identity. I want them to appreciate our culture, and firmly believe that our adventures abroad will help them learn about the world as a whole and America’s place in it.
As I’m writing this a friend just emailed me this NPR article about the 4th of July. The last bullet points points out that the 4th of July is celebrated, with almost as much enthusiasm, in Denmark. Perhaps we should be there next July?
I’m excited for new traditions and seeing how we honor our American ones in the context of our Dutch life. For now though, I’m just going to enjoy my last 4th of July here, because I suspect there is nothing quite like being an American celebrating America.