Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Photo-Free Fourth

No matter how often I charge my camera batteries, I'm guaranteed to end up battery-less on some of the best photo-ops of the year.  It's just how I do things.  So yesterday, as soon as I pulled my camera out of my high-tech bag (aka: diaper bag) and turned it on, it turned itself off again.  No batteries to capture the moments.  No photos to hold the memories.  Just words.  Lots and lots of words.

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A trip to Nana and Grandpa's house.  Pretty much like every other weekend, but this time the drive is infused with more excitement.  Fireworks!  Swimming!  Cousins!  We charge up the porch steps, into the house for pre-swimming snacks.  Strawberries.  Piles of strawberries, cut in half and grudgingly shared between the girls.  Sunscreen is squeezed in tiny dabs in little hands, so little girls can help slather themselves before heading back outside.  Poking fingers jab at faces, striping sunscreen across chins, cheeks, noses.  Naked babies run across the living room floor, slippery and squealing.

Pinkie toes are dipped in the less-than warm pool.  The squirming toddler is on my hip, begging to fwim, fwim!  Daddy takes a deep breath and dives in, accepting the brutal cold of the water all at once, instead of in millimeters, like mama does.  There are floating rafts, tossed balls, splashed eyes, and daring jumps. 

Grilled steak is devoured by one child, refused by another.  Dinner is eaten in a mad rush to get to the brownies and ice cream for dessert, which are eaten in a mad rush to get back to playing.  A messy playroom is made even messier by three singing, hamming cousins.  A coveted plush purple dolphin is fought over and eventually shared, but with hard feelings for one left-out toddler.  Meltdown.

A calm pre-dusk backyard.  Fireworks -- a variety of noiseless sparks -- are begun early, not waiting around for the 9:30 darkness.  Fountains, roman candles, sparklers...sweet baby girl on my lap, clenching my hands over her ears, just in case a wayward pop or sizzle accosts her delicate ears.  A brave girl out with her daddy, jumping and squealing until he pulls out the dreaded snapping poppers.  He throws down a few poppers, far away from the girl, and she runs, screaming, back to mama's skirt behind the lawn chairs.  But that's not far enough, because Daddy's still trying valiantly to convince her the poppers are safe and fun.  She races upstairs and into the house, peeking out of a window.  The poppers are not a success, but daddy and a fireworks-veteran cousin enjoy themselves immensely.
Cold and juicy watermelon slices dribble pink streams down elbows and chins. Grandpa makes a last minute run to the fireworks store for just a few last fountains.  The strong silent type, of course.  Oohs and Aahs are uttered in appreciation before the last colored sparks fizzle out and we wander away from our lawn chairs. 

Smoke -- sulfuric and thick -- blankets the still, windless valley.  The sun finally slips below the horizon while fireflies blink in the rambling hibiscus bush.  Two best-friend cousins chase and tiptoe after God's own natural fireworks, jumping and screaming when they actually catch one.  Then -- startlingly -- it's time to go.  Small fits are thrown, pleas for more time are kindly refused.
A late bedtime.  A skipped bath.  Sleepyhead girls close their eyes and zonk before the bedroom doors are even fully closed. 
Mama and Daddy silently relax, smiling at our own memories of a brightly lit day. Painting pictures in our heads of the things we hope to never forget.

Booms and thunderous echoes surround all sides of our quiet, blue house. 

6 comments:

  1. Your words created glorious pictures - who cares about dead batteries when you can't write like this.

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  2. Holiday parties are such a mix bag of intense emotion when the kids are involved. There's so much excitement, normally, that meltdowns are almost unavoidable. Glad you had a fun time! Sounds like a great day. :)

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  3. The whole day yesterday I absorbed all of the details, trying to hold onto all of the fun memories we were creating. Sounds like you were doing the same. :)

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  4. Oh it sounds like a wonderfully idyllic day so beautifully captured by your words.

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  5. Beautiful, Sarah! Really beautiful! I'm so glad you had such a perfect holiday!

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Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?