The 4th of July always reminds me of a particular 4th of July 23 years ago. We were at a 4th of July gathering, standing out in the culdesac, playing with sparklers. I remember being very pregnant, relatively miserable, but mostly anxious to meet my second born child. It had been a difficult pregnancy so we were thankful to have gotten to this point. Eric and I were hovering,the way that first time parents do, over our then 2 1/2 year old Laura as she played with her sparkler. What would it be like having two children instead of one? What would our second daughter be like? Would I love her like I love Laura? Do I really have to go through labor and delivery again?
I didn't know that I was standing at the threshhold of being the mother of not one but two amazing daughters. Who knew that these tiny very needy people would grow up to be women who I really like as well as love,truly admire and love spending time with. I was reminded just how much this past weekend when we were together over the 4th of July weekend.
I was desperately in need of some Laura time since she lives in another city now and I don't get to see her very often. The two of us hit the ground running as soon as we both arrived Friday afternoon at the lake house doing some power shopping at the outlet mall. She came armed with extra percent discount coupons for the holiday weekend and off we went. Later that night she was brimming with working girl tales and specifically her review. She is determined to make things happen at her place of employment and I wouldn't bet against her! She is also a kid at heart so she loves having her younger siblings to relive her childhood. The next day she played the game of Life with Lucas and Summer and she made Kristen's birthday Cherry Cheesecake pie with Summer. Laura brings lots of fun to our family and we love her for it! She and Jason also cooked a delicious Southwest Chicken meal for us with enthusiasm and love. I love how she and Jason work together to make my life easier! Laura and I share a love, some would say a ridiculous obsession, of walking/running whenever we are together so we enjoyed two power walks on this visit to the lake. Anyone can join us of course if they are willing to walk fast. We had two takers, Lucas one day and Eric another and of course the usual terrifying lake dogs that chase us!
We were all eagerly anticipating Kristen's arrival because she would be bringing her new fiance, Ben to spend the weekend with us. We can always count on her to keep our lives interesting. She typically has seismic changes in her life in any given year and her engagement announcement was one of those shifts.
Kristen arrived exhaused from traveling, but happy in her typically understated way. She would not be joining us on our power walk the following morning. She operates in some other calm realm and does not feel the need to be in constant motion. This baffles me at times, but mostly I marvel at this skill I do not possess. This is why Laura and I were so pleased that she she agreed to join us in running the Peachtree Roadrace this year. It would be her first time. We left the men folk and the little kids behind and drove into Atlanta the night before the race. We had 27 hours of blissful uninterrupted girl talk! The next morning, we traveled many hot sticky miles on Marta,driving and walking the streets of midtown and that was just getting to and from the 6.2 race! Kristen did great! It was worth every minute to experience running the race together but mostly I love spending anytime time with my two grown up girls.
Kristen lives near us so I get to see her more often which I love. She has become my Gigi's cupcake partner as well as our go to babysitter when Eric and I need to get away, really far away like Jamaica! She has always been very maternal and her competence with handling all 3 of her younger siblings is unparalleled. Kristen lives her life by heart and I have to say it softens our family somehow. She brings a gentleness that is disarming, yet also a steadiness that reveals inner determination and strength like the time she wanted a dog when I thought I had absolutely no use for a dog. We ended up getting her and I'm forever in her debt for bringing Roxy, AKA perfect dog into my life. Thanks Kristen!
Well,our girl time came to an end and we returned to the lake house. We spent some time boating, playing games and preparing for Jason's Annual Fireworks Extravaganza that gets bigger every year. We were also anxious to get to know this Ben character who had captured Kristen's heart. I have to say that he dove right in, literally, when one of our life jackets flew out of the boat and he volunteered to dive in to get it. Lucas dubbed him a hero the rest of the weekend. Later,determined to impress his fiance, he spilled some of his own blood when he sustained an injury doing a now classic charade of quick sand. He also performed a lovely guitar solo for our evening entertainment. Mostly though it was nice to see stars in his eyes when he looked at Kristen.
So ends another eventful 4th of July at the Lake house. So glad that 23 years ago Kristen came into my life to join her big sister Laura. They couldn't be more different and I couldn't love each one of them any more.