|I use strawberries on my cake, and usually I don't configure it like a flag, choosing instead to mix the strawberries and scattered blueberries on top of whipped cream, but I think you get the idea. ( Photo: www.rockingwallpaper.com )|
Independence Day which, in the US, is celebrated on the 4th of July, was a favorite holiday when Daniel was still on Earth. We used to cook hotdogs, hamburgers, and chicken breast on the grill and have salad, cole slaw and potato salad with an early afternoon celebration meal. Sometimes, I would make a sponge cake with cream covered with randomly set fresh strawberries and blueberries. This would be a true red, white and blue cake. One year, I placed vanilla ice cream on it and then decorated it with the red and blue fruit and served it at once. That evening, we would let off fireworks on the farm, in a place where we had hosed down the grass to avoid fires from sparks during what is often a dry season here. We also avoided using fireworks in areas where animals might be frightened by fireworks. In the five and a half years since Daniel departed Earth, as much as I sometimes wanted to hold Earth still, as if he could somehow jump back to Earth, time has moved on. His sister graduated from university and has established a career, and bought a home. His eldest brother graduated from the university, has had heart surgery and also been struck by lightning since, and continues to gradually recover. Another brother just graduated from college, and in a really lousy job market has decided to go on to get an additional degree. The son we adopted a year after Daniel's departure continues to be at home and to make slow and steady progress in adapting to life in a family.
This year, we gathered for our normal Independence Day meal. My husband grilled, and the boys made food. Our daughter brought some food she made at her home. This year, I didn't make the sponge cake dessert. Since a number of our animals are beyond normal life expectancy they require pretty attentive care particularly on hot and humid days,. my time before dinner, was taken by caring for them. Many of them were here when Daniel still was. In deference to the animals we decided not to have our annual fireworks here on the farm. Yesterday the thunder and lightning frightened them, and so we decided to give them a rest. Instead, my husband and two of the boys went to our county's fireworks display which was really quite something. My husband recorded it on his iphone for the rest of us to see afterward.
So much in our family, our rural county, our country, and the world has changed since Daniel's departure. Children do indeed grow up, and this is what they are here to do. However, so many of the other changes have not been good ones. Happy Independence Day, Daniel. You are missed and remembered, every moment, every holiday, and through each day as your siblings grow and change. Thank you for coming here, and for being an important part of the frenzied holiday activity while you were. We love you, and we always will.