But the years passed and the wild and insane love affair ebbed and flowed and soon the man-child was grown. Before we knew what happened we had spent five fourth of Julys in my father in law's back yard. This time with less booze and more clothes. Soon children began to join us and one year, one of those kids was ours. And time ticked by, and we got older, and when I woke on Friday morning, I let all those fourths sink in. We are here. In this spot I only dared to dream fourteen years ago.
Our daughters know of no other celebration. They celebrate the fourth in Grandpa's backyard, swimming in his pool, drinking Dr. Peppers, eating ice cream sandwiches, and sitting through three hundred dollars worth of fireworks. They know nothing of past discretions or heartaches or fights that took place over the last beer. All they know is that this is what we do. We. All four of us. Which is completely crazy and such a novel idea since some days I wake and wonder if I'm still that twenty two year old dummy chasing love in all the wrong directions. Then I fully wake and remember that I'm home. I'm here. And it's real. The Hubbs is at work, my kids are asleep, and I'm more whole than I've ever been.
Fourteen years ago, I would have never dreamed of a day as wonderful as Friday. I never knew I wanted such things all those years ago. Two daughters. Friends that have become family. Moms and Dads who are now Grandmas and Grandpas. Beer bottles co-mingle with Capri Sun pouches. Adults turn into kids again at the sight of sparklers, and the kids enjoy them as if for the first time. Fourteen years ago I was only sure of one thing: I wanted to be John's wife. At the time it seemed like just a pipe dream, but today it seems silly that I ever worried about spending the next thirteen fourth of Julys any other way.
July fourth is about America and Independence. It's a great celebration for a great nation. But it's also the celebration of a dream I once had. Fourteen years ago.