When I was growing up, this was by far my favorite holiday. I looked forward to it every year. It was the one time of year that all my cousins on my Dad's side were together. My Aunt and Uncle would come from Denver with their three kids and that was usually the only time we saw them. They would bring a HUGE tent and we would pitch it in my Grama's yard and camp out every night the whole time they were there. There are nine grandchildren on my Dad's side but usually it was just seven of us that would camp out. My sister was much older and the youngest was much younger. For the week or so that they were visiting, we were inseperable. We would play outside from the time we woke up until the sun was down. We would go on long walks and beg our parents to take us to Dairy Queen. We would usually take a day and go to the lake to go swimming. It really never mattered what we were doing, we just had a blast doing it.
On the Fourth of July we would have a huge barbeque at my Grandparent's house and all the neighbors and extended family would come. Bill & Dorothy Morey always brought a huge watermelon boat filled with fruit. My Grama would make rhubarb pie. If the weather didn't cooperate, we would clean out my Grandparent's garage and eat in there. We never let it dampen our spirits.
Because I grew up in Wyoming, we had the benefit of being able to set off our own fireworks. It was always a big game to see if we could find them and usually they would be hidden under my Grandparent's bed. We would sneak in and look at them and the anticipation would be just like Christmas. My Dad and uncles would be the ones to set them off. As soon as it was dark we'd get started. It still amazes me that there were only minor accidents each year! My favorite fireworks were rockets that shot up and then little plastic men would parachute out. The kids would race around and try and find them in the dark.
Now that I am much older and have children of my own, I can't help but reflect on how perfect that time was. My cousins are all over the country now, each with their own lives, most with their own families. I haven't even talked to most of them for the past several years. My Grampa has been gone for almost ten years and we don't really gather at my Grama's house anymore. As kids we thought those perfect days would last forever. Now I look back and realize just how quickly they went by.
One of my main goals as a Mom is to make lasting, happy memories for my kids. I want them to look back on certain traditions and hold them dear. I hope they don't grow up as quickly as we did!