Why is it that we convince ourselves with each new year that the fireworks show is going to be an amazing time full of laughter and hugs and unforgettable moments? When instead it is full of spats and whining and trying to find a good spot to set up camp? Ok, so I exaggerate a tad. After all, I believe life is as good as you want to make it so even though there were the spats and the whining and the search for a perfect viewing spot, there was also laughter when the cookies were brought out, hugs when the fireworks sparkled in the sky, and unforgettable moments when I witnessed Jon and Maria holding hands as they walked back to the car.
I haven’t so much learned to lessen my expectations through the years as I have learned to change my thinking. I used to think “this night will be perfect” and when one thing went wrong, I would get upset and believe the entire night was a failure. Maybe it’s a matter of getting older (or maybe it’s a matter of reading lots of self-help books!) but I have improved my thinking in these circumstances. I go into an event now with the thought that no matter how things go, I am lucky to be able to experience the event and have time with my loved ones or by myself. I am privileged to be able to walk to the event, be able to talk to people, be able to eat good food. So when Mario trips and cries or Maria whines or the weather is sweltering hot, I can acknowledge them for what they are and move on to experiencing the better. My results are much more positive and gratifying. And so when I got home last night, I thanked life for giving me time with Jon and M&M to watch fireworks and smile at one another and have tender moments together (trying to get in the car quick enough to not shine our headlights on spectators).
This holiday has allowed me to sharpen my thinking skills even more between the 90 degree, hour and a half parade and the irritable, sun-drenched, fatigued children. But, alas, we were all together downing the waters and watching the floats and having some laughs with cousins and old teachers and friends.
We even managed a bike ride to Stauf’s for a thirst-quenching iced coffee. Maria is becoming a bike pro using only one hand at times and standing up off the seat at others. Mario still enjoys his mama riding him on her bike, which I still secretly love, too since Maria is already pushing away like a 15 year old to be her own person (it’s too soon!).
And so, I continue to revel in my positive thinking as we head over to Jon’s niece’s house for a cookout. How lucky I am to have as much as I do in all aspects of my life – family, friends, home, health, work. No matter if I get a burnt burger tonight or Mario throws a tantrum or the slip-n-slide fails – life is still good on this July 4, 2012.