A 4th at Home

There’s something about today that hurts. It’s a very raw feeling. The world moves on to celebrate the holiday and it seems we just can’t do it the “old fashioned way.”

A year ago, we’d spent the week on a family vacation at the lake house. My whole family was together. It was a great week. Our families were all complete with 8 cousins having so much fun together. We’d gone for icecream together, taken family pictures together, fished together, cleaned up from a nasty storm together, swam together, danced together, went on a boat ride together, and enjoyed the week. Justin’s shift was going back to work over the 4th of July so I remember I debated staying at the lake a few extra days and letting Justin head back to work but had decided I really wanted to head back with Justin and keep our family together. We have traveled separately many times but it always felt off when we did so in my heart I knew I wanted to head home July 3rd as a family together.

July 4th, 2012 I took the 3 kids to the to our usual fireworks spot. You have to get there hours early to claim your piece of grass and set up camp for the evening. So, in my usual “I’ve got this covered” fashion, I packed up 3 kids, lugged our way to the grass and sat for about an hour as we watched a possible rainstorm on the radar. Of course, before we knew it the skies opened up and the rain was pouring out. I’m sure I was a sight to be seen trying to cart 3 kids, a small cooler of food, a diaper bag, a stroller, a blanket, and a lawn chair as we ran back to the car to wait out the storm. Before we knew it the storm had passed, we had partially dried, and we were back on the grass to wait for fireworks. We met some friends and cousins there as the evening passed and the kids played and had a blast. Nate was so concerned that his Daddy wouldn’t get to see fireworks that he took probably 100 pictures on his Itouch as we watched. So even though Justin wasn’t there with us on that lawn, he was on our mind and Nate wasn’t going to let the evening go by without him. Drew sat in awe of the fireworks and watched pretty quietly in Drew fashion just taking it all in, Nate talked our ears off and bounced from lap to lap as he watched and took pictures to send to his Daddy, and Kaylee sat mesmerized through the whole show.

This morning, I walked out of the upstairs hallway with Kaylee on my hip, she pointed at pictures we have hanging on the wall. As she started pointing, and talking about the pictures, she pointed at one of Justin and I with the boys on 4th of July from several years ago. We talk about Nate all the time. We want to teach her everything we can about him because sadly her memories will mostly be comprised of pictures and what we tell her of. Her brother loved her beyond words. He took care of her. He had sweet lovey eyes for his baby sister. The bond they have is beyond what words can describe. I often think of how their relationship would be now. Would he be shouting praise when she uses the potty? Would he be reading her books at bedtime the way Drew did for him? Would he be teaching her all about cars and trucks and showing her how tools work? I looked at the picture as we talked about Nate and I hugged Kaylee tight. I kissed her sweet forehead and whispered with a tear in my eye, “Oh baby, I miss Nate”. Kaylee looked back at me, leaned in, and said “I miss Nate too Mama.” I’m not sure she actually knows what she said or if she was just mimicking me in conversation but what I do know is that we are teaching her right. We aren’t leaving out any detail or pretending she didn’t have a brother that loved her. She may not remember but we will do everything we can for her and Drew to show them how amazing their brother is.

This week has been hard. I haven’t been able to pinpoint the reason until now. Last night as we were still talking about what to do for fireworks, and where to go, I realized that it’s the holiday that has me missing Nate. 4th of July represents summer and all the things Nate loved. Summer vacations, cookouts, family, friends, socializing, being outside, pools, etc. Summer is Nate. Nate is summer. The two went hand in hand. Tonight, we decided to stay in. It’s okay to do things a little different. Drew asked if we could have a family night inside with a family room campout, ice cream, and a movie. Admittedly, I cried as I told Justin, you know Nate wouldn’t have let this happen. Nate would be arguing his point of going to sit in the heat all day just to see the evening fireworks. And we would of done it as a family together. But the reality is, today is different. Today, it’s not so much about fireworks, it’s about our family, right here in these 4 walls and what’s best for us in this moment.

July 4th, 2012 was the last holiday we celebrated with Nate. July 4th is one step closer to September. July 4th is everything summer and everything that reminds us of Nate.

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT)

I tried to look through pictures of the fourth of July week to share with this post and the pictures were to emotional and to raw. There are a hundred pictures of smiling faces by the water. We had fun. We were in our happy place. I can’t bring myself to share those pictures. It’s just too much still. They are mine. They are ours. So, until I’m ready to share, here is a picture Nate took of fireworks last year.

All My Love,


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