C2 (who is 6), wanted to know why Americans celebrate Independence Day. This is how the conversation went at breakfast on Wednesday.
C2: So why do Americans celebrate the 4th of July?
Me: Because it is the day we declared independence from Great Britain, back in 1776.
C2: What was Great Britain doing in America?
Me: Remember we learnt that during Thanksgiving – the Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower.
C2: Oh yeah, so the Native Americans kicked out the English?
Me: Well, not quite but the American Revolution was a war.
C2: So who won?
Me: The Americans
C2: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS !!! …
As a result of my history lesson with C2 the day before, C1 woke up yesterday and announced that he was not going to school. C1 actually loves school and he did not look or sound sick so I just ignored him.
Well, part of me…in fact MOST of me agreed with him. From C1’s perspective, why should his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents all be off from work and school, and we are not. From C1’s perspective, that just isn’t fair, is it. Maybe C1 wants to raise a flag, salute a volunteer and march in a parade. Maybe at the very least, C1 wants to go to the beach…from C1’s perspective that is , of course.
My father‘s birthday is also on the 4th of July, which always made celebrating the day even more of an occasion. We always had a party at the beach and we always stayed at the beach, no matter what the weather, the entire day. Coolers were packed the night before, we had breakfast in the car on the way, we ate lunch on our blankets in the sand, and dinner was either leftover sandwiches from lunch or ‘dawgs’ from the concession stand. When the lifeguards took down their flags, we would pack up, get home at dusk, shower and change and go to a neighbors party where fireworks were promised throughout most of the night.
Right. Now I want the day off as well…
But before I let C1 stay home, I wonder if this is really a clever way of tugging on my sentimental softy strings and is just one cog in the wheel of C1’s conniving childlike plan. Forget that C1 IS a child, I now think that there would be no end to the holidays that he would decide to celebrate and observe and claim as his own. He would then be home most days and before I’d know it, all that time and effort I spent working out terms and half terms (Terminal Leave), would be for nothing (or for ‘naught’ as they ‘actually’ say here in the UK). I cannot possibly work out additional religious holidays and observance days for my very own citizen of the world.
Right, get your backpack C1, the school bell is about to ring.
I’m a bit worried that C2 will go to his classroom full of Brits, Aussies, French and 11 other nationalities, and boast about what happened in the land of our forefathers 240 years ago. I want him to be proud, and I want him to know his heritage, but I also respect his place and am well aware that he is growing up in England…and as a result, IS very English.
I also know what fickle fans my kids are at this age and true loyalties are not yet truly formed nor deeply embedded. I am sure that if the Brits had won, (well A LOT more erudite writings can address THAT topic), but in my world, C2 would probably be just as enthusiastic about being British. He is a fairweather fan… supports a team when he is already certain of the outcome. Sure, that makes total sense !!! A bit like NY Giants fans right? Sorry Dad.
But it wasn’t the same. I wanted to be at the beach drinking ice cold beer and eating hot dogs. Maybe next year I won’t ignore C1 and we’ll drive to Whitstable for the day.
Happy 4th of July weekend to my family and friends, veterans and volunteers !!! We salute you!
(Shot of espresso, filled with hot water, topped with semi-skimmed -2%- milk)
compliments of Jamie Oliver’s Recipease
drink the morning after 4th of July celebrations