Changing Times

When I was growing up, Fourth of July was a huge event. My parents hosted a party every year, with swimming and a barbecue, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, watermelon, and chocolate cake. After dinner we walked to the local park to ooh and aah over the fireworks. We couldn’t wait to get home, because my dad would give us sparklers. We wrote our names in the night sky with the glow of the glittering light.

Childhood memories I will always remember.

My husband and I carried on my family’s July 4th tradition. Year after year, family and friends congregated in our backyard for swimming and a spread of delicious summer food. Kids splashed and squealed in the pool, perfecting their cannon balls and playing Marco Polo. Our dog ran back and forth along the deck, barking, waiting for someone to throw him the ball.

I’ll never forget the sounds, smells, and tastes from those days.

Our daughters are now in their early twenties. Yesterday they had their own plans for Independence Day. It’s bittersweet. We didn’t host a party this year, and yes, I missed it. But life goes on and we all change. There’s beauty in that, too.

My husband and I had an amazing weekend together. We reminisced but didn’t dwell on what used to be. We had a new adventure. We visited a beach town we love, watched a community parade, took a long walk along the shore, and tried out a new restaurant. We relaxed.

It was much different than the hectic time before a party. We didn’t have to worry about cleaning the backyard, buying dozens of hot dogs, hamburger buns, and corn. My husband didn’t need to make sure the pool was picture perfect and we didn’t have to clean all the patio furniture.

But I missed everyone filling our home with laughter. I longed for the past, when the girls would blow up red, white, and blue balloons and tape them on our mailbox. I missedΒ  streamers hanging in the kitchen window and American flags waving in the grass.

I’m sure we’ll host another Fourth of July party. It won’t be the same. But that’s okay. There are still so many memories to be made.

My husband was more than happy to relax this weekend. You know what he said about not having a party? “Freedom!”

Of course he was joking. I think.


First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here




48 thoughts on “Changing Times

  1. I bet you missed your girls. I was thinking about my parents yesterday being half a state away from us and how although it’s just one holiday, in a life span of holidays, it was one missed. πŸ™‚ Glad you had a great time. The beach sounds nice. And, bet relaxing was a welcome break. πŸ™‚

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  2. I’d always hoped to have my children have children and we’d pile into our huge house for holidays. Times have changed though. I find myself alone on holidays, the kids would rather meet with their friends than spend time with us. They have decided not to have children, to my great sorrow. I guess I feel the bitter pang more than the bitter sweet one.

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  3. Bittersweet is the perfect word for the lovely, well written and nostalgic post! My family spread out years ago, but we used to always get together for the 4th – but not this year. You inspired me to write the real story – maybe for next year when it’s not so sore πŸ˜‰ I can hardly wait to browse your blog.

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  4. I can relate to changing times. My two are getting older and more independant which means they’re off on their own more and there’s more time for hubby and I to make new memories. But like you I miss the noise and color and life of parties growing up. Lovely nostalgic post.

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  5. Pingback: Reblog: Changing Times | Not the Average Mama

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  7. It seems that whilst an Ocean apart we are travelling a similar path with the departure of our children. We can treat it as you clearly are as a new adventure and I’m enjoying having the space to enjoy my husbands company once again as you clearly are too.. I am blessed that my children and now my grandchildren all live very close by so we do get our tranquillity interrupted frequently (which is lovely too!).. x

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  8. This message is a bit late, but happy Independence Day! I appreciated your honest reflection on the bittersweetness of your changing holiday traditions. Not all good or all bad, but balanced and truthful. When I read your recollections of your past parties on the 4th of July, I thought about the amazing gift that you gave to your daughters and to all the neighbors and friends who attended your parties. Perhaps they are all continuing on the tradition and passing it along, just as your parents passed it onto you.

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    • Aw, thank you… it doesn’t matter that it’s a little late! πŸ™‚ I appreciate your nice comment so much. Hope you’re enjoying the weekend! Both my daughters are home, so I’m a happy momma. Lots of girl time, yay! πŸ™‚


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