Seeing things through new eyes

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It's hot, families get together, there are barbecued hot dogs and lots of potato salad and olives and watermelon. Everybody celebrates, and there's a shared feeling of patriotism and home pride. And "God Bless America" gets blared really loudly at some point during the day. On the Fourth I'm a country fan, I love those big patriotic anthems, the ones that manipulate your emotions shamelessly. On the Fourth I like to braid my hair into two braids and wear sparkly eye makeup.

This year the barbecue part of the day was pretty quiet. We were at my parents' house and it was just my dad and mom, Nathan, me, and Judah, and my grandma. But it was fun, and later in the evening, as we have for the past four years, we headed over to a big park in Yorba Linda for the fireworks show. Our party grew there to include Nathan's parents, his brother Jeff, my brother Dave and his wife Becky and their girls, Morgan and Lindsay, and our friends Brent and Danielle and their son Joshua. There was more food and party poppers and good conversation and thousands of people around.

While we waited for the show to start we sat and talked, and Nathan's dad held Judah, who finally fell asleep. I had wondered all day how Judah would handle the fireworks. He was still asleep when they started, but of course he woke up at the first boom and started screaming. Ken had him faced into his shoulder and was covering his ears, but he turned him around after a minute. Judah saw the fireworks and immediately stopped screaming. He was wrapped up in a blanket, and Judah spent the whole show sitting quietly, his eyes wide over the edge of the blanket as he watched. He was totally entranced. I don't think he looked away even once. I love fireworks a lot, but it was very hard for me to tear my eyes away from Judah to watch them. It was so awesome to watch him experiencing them for the first time, seeing the wonder in his eyes. I can't wait to discover the world all over again with him as he grows up.

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