Recently, I resolved to celebrate holidays, no matter how small or insignificant. Okay, well maybe most, not counting holidays like Columbus day, president’s day and other excuses for a day off.
“Keep it simple” is my motto when it comes to celebrations. All the unnecessary fuss that comes with other holidays just seems, to me, like a marketing ploy to milk us of money, drain us of energy, and keep up with the Jones’—it cheapens the experience.
I do small birthdays, simple holidays, uncomplicated family traditions. But now that the kids are getting older, I’d like to use holidays as a creative way to engage with the kids. Do things like decorate together, and deposit festive memories into their memory banks.
Christmas and Thanksgiving are no-brainers; July 4th is tough.
We started a fourth of July breakfast tradition, and this year we kicked it up a notch with homemade red, white, and blue decor. Ellie really enjoys crafting and “doing things” together. So it was an opportunity to connect one-on-one while Ollie napped. My goal is to do little craft projects with her once a week.
July 4th is tough because, I don’t have lasting memories of celebrating Independence day. I remember going to cookouts, which is central to the celebration, but I don’t have memories of red, white and blue cakes, and pies, flags, and home decor. Maybe, things were simpler back in the day; cookouts at friends’ and family’s and maybe we’ll catch fireworks. I can’t help but wonder if pinterest has anything to do with the excessive hoopla around fourth of July (no body used to ever decorate! Or is it just me?).
It’s also tough because I feel like an other on holidays like this. My blood runs hot for Ghana and Sierra Leone just as much as it does for America. (Oh the struggle of being bi-cultural!) Maybe next year I’ll make a tradition of celebrating 6th March (Ghana’s independence day) as well as fourth of July. I want that for my girls.
Then there’s the politics of it. To be frank, my people weren’t “independent” on Independence day. (In fact, slavery wasn’t abolished in Ghana until 1874–eleven years after the emancipation proclamation in America) While it’s easy to gloss over the facts, and celebrate because it’s a national holiday, I like to have meaning and purpose in what I do. I strive to enrich myself and the kids with heritage and history.
Besides these minor challenges, Fourth of July is significant to me. I’m proud to be of a country that strives to create an environment for freedom to thrive; no matter how flawed or tangled the pursuit of the ideal environment may be. I’m grateful that 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act that paved the way for my brown family to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy now.
I’m optimistic of the future and I believe our generation is leading the way in making the fabric of this country stronger
(Okay, I’m off my political soap box now).
We had a picnic at the park.
But we didn’t catch fireworks this year. The girls came down with nasty summer colds that day which prompted a trip to urgent care–and resulted in Olivia being prescribed a nebulizer. The doctor believes it’s RSV; a respiratory virus. After a few days it should clear up completely. But the treatment was scary. Ollie couldn’t breath very well. She wheezed.
They were both troopers though. Grandma came over and spent Saturday with them. Ollie sat still and enjoyed breathing with a mask over her face. She kept asking for “more!” Then sat still with the breathing tube in her own mouth. She didn’t want (or need) any help. My baby isn’t even two yet, but she loves being a big girl—the only thing she wants to be in this whole wide world—just like her sister.