Friday, July 6, 2012

Born Free

I was never born for confrontation, for serious conversation or to be the voice of reason in an otherwise difficult time.  I thrive in the everyday dullness of life, in the daily grind of diapers and crayons and wet feet in the grass.  But that's the great thing about America-- I get to make my decisions for myself, and I chose a husband who does all of those things for me.

With his capacity for intensity, Joel like to take every opportunity to talk with the boys about serious matters, and yesterday was no exception.  As we ate turkey sandwiches and homemade macaroni and cheese, Cael asked to know our plans for the day. 

 "Mommy, what is happening today?"

"Well, it's the Fourth of July, so later tonight we will go see fireworks."

Since my kids are inherent destroyers, the prospect of viewing explosives being detonated in the sky as we sweat our diaper-clad rear ends off is as exciting as Christmas morning.  Just hotter.

"AWESOME!  But why are we watching fireworks today?"

And this is where Joel's patriotism lights up like a sparkler at night.

"Cael, today is Independence Day!  What country do we live in?"


"Nope, that's our state.  Our country is America.  And a long, long time ago--"

"--A long time ago with dinosaurs?"

"No, Cael, way after dinosaurs.  Anyway, a long time ago, some people came to this country to start a new life.  And we had to fight very long and hard, but when the war was over we got to be free.  That means that no one could tell us what to do or what to think.  How awesome is that?"

"Awesome like dinosaurs?"

Yeah, I was pretty sure he didn't get it.  Even after I prompted him to imagine what life must be like in some places where he would be told what to believe and how to live his life, he was unable to envision a world where Spinosaurus obsessions weren't allowed.

Then again, I can't envision a world where I couldn't choose to marry an overly confident, Airstream obsessed, enthusiastic jazz musician with an affinity for ice cream and beer signsAh, America.

 "Cael, freedom is just about the greatest thing in the world.  What do you think IS the best thing?"


"Nope.  Even better."


"Way better than cookies.  Who makes all of those things possible?" 


"That's right!  God gives us dinosaurs and cookies and freedom.  And he gave you parents that love you a LOT.  And he also gave us soldiers that are willing to fight for us to keep us safe and free."

"Who do the soldiers fight, Daddy?  Dinosaurs?"

"No, Cael.  There are no dinosaurs in this story.  The soldiers fight the people that want to hurt us or take away our freedom.  That's why we always say 'thank you' when we see a soldier, right?"


"Now you understand why we celebrate Independence Day!"

"Yeah, okay.  Now about the dinosaurs..."

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.