Traditions are important to me, and over the years our family has developed some pretty good ones for various holidays. However, it hasn't been until the last couple of years that I have felt like we have settled into a good 4th of July tradition.
When we were first married, I really thought our 4th of July tradition would be an annual backpacking trip. But we have only been able to manage that a few times, and with little ones it will probably be some time before that is our reality again.
Moving to Signal Mountain has provided some new small-town traditions that I have fallen in love with. These traditions feel quintessentially American. On the morning of July 4th we start things of by attending the annual Signal Mountain Bike Parade. Local firetrucks and police cars kick things off with their sirens. They are followed by boy scout and girl scout troops, baseball teams, animal shelters and various other local organizations. Anyone can join in.
Lots of families participate with their children riding decorated bikes, scooters or Powerwheels. As a bonus, we always come home with a bag full of candy. Our kids are small enough that we enjoy watching the festivities, but maybe next year we will join in on the fun of biking in the parade. Rain or shine, it is a fun family event.
Later that evening we joined friends for a cookout. We feel incredibly blessed to be able to share these moments with friends. Our town's annual fireworks show was cancelled this year due to rain, but we were still able to let the kids have fun with sparklers.
While the adults visited late into the evening, the kids played and we all listened to the booming sounds of fireworks being shot off by neighbors. It was probably just as well for Isaac that we weren't outside.
Finally, our church held their annual bike parade and ice cream social in the back parking lot. Jack pedaled his little heart out for over an hour. He was one of the very last to still be riding his bike... After the loud speakers had been taken down, after most of the other families had packed up and left, he was still out there making the rounds.
At the start, the experience makes me nervous – big kids and little kids are all riding in circles together. The chaos of it all makes my heart jump into my throat as careening children on bikes somehow avoid crashing into each other. Thankfully, for the most part, the kids do a great job. It fills me with pride to see my little one out there, so full of confidance.
All of these events seem to be becoming our Independence Day traditions. Maybe in the future we will take our boys backpacking to celebrate the birth of our country, maybe we will stick with the fireworks, cookouts and bike parades. Either way, I am proud to be an American and live in the little community where we live.