The 4th of July in our neighborhood means a day of festivities: a parade, a potluck barbecue, a field day of games, a block party, and, of course, fireworks. It is a very long day, but busy and fun. Our kids did not make it for the big fireworks show in the evening, but we were able to do some of our own small ones on the street and watch some of our neighbors’ as well. We thought we’d play the evening by ear, but when the time came, it was just in the best interest of everyone that we drew their evening to a close and got them tucked in bed. That they were both able to sleep through booming fireworks being shot off directly outside their windows assured us we did the right thing.
But fireworks were such a small contribution to the 4th of July celebrations around here, we had a very full and fun day anyway. Things were kicked off with a bike parade in the morning.
Elia & JJ made their way directly behind the car whose riders were throwing candy. How did that happen? I don’t think they understood that the candy was for the spectators, not the parade riders.
Nevertheless, JJ was thrilled when when he was finally able to hop off his bike and get some candy off the ground.
Elia walks carefully with her egg during the egg relay race.
JJ tries to go fast but still carefully.
Elia runs hoops during her obstacle course.
JJ is on the receiving end of the water balloon toss. If you couldn’t guess by his eyes, he missed this catch. Fortunately it didn’t break, and they were able to go another round.
Elia hops her heart out in the sack race.
JJ takes off in the 50 m dash. This heat was for 3-4 year olds.
He took the races very seriously, but he still had fun!
Enjoying his ribbon after the race:
Now Elia’s race (5-6 year olds). Can you see who decided to race again? Just because he loves it so much!
Throughout all the kids’ races and games, the dads had been watching and cheering good-naturedly, though it was hard for them not to get in there and flex their competitive muscles. So when the suggestion of an impromptu Dads’ Race came up, they were all quick to get to the starting line. They were all so excited to race, I didn’t have the heart to tell them there was no way John would let any of the other dads win. Poor Other Dads. True to himself, John took the lead instantly, and by the time he crossed the finish line, he had already recovered his breath and his pace had slowed to a light jaunt. The other dads’ faces show that they were trying so hard, unfortunately they were just naive about what it’s like to race with John. Poor Other Dads.
Me, on the other hand, I’m not so adept at athletic success. But when the Dads then suggested a Moms’ Race (of course), I did think it sounded fun. So I lined up with other moms, despite the fact I was wearing a straight, knee-length denim skirt. Not exactly sprinting attire. But John was just awarded the title of “Fastest Dad in the Neighborhood”; how could I disappoint him by not trying for the corresponding title of “Fastest Mom”, thereby earning the respect and admiration of all the other neighborhood parents? At the starting line, I joked with my neighbor-mom-friends about the (seemingly) lighthearted nature of the race, but with a serious mission in mind. To win this. So, whose foot is the first to land just on the other side of the finish line? That would be mine.
So, yesterday was a day of celebrating our nation’s independence, reflecting on our country’s history, having fun with with friends and neighbors, enjoying good food, but most importantly, winning races.