But that said, we all had a good day together. Scott and Ashley arrived around noon, and we went to the pool and had ourselves a little picnic: ham and brie sandwiches, and BLT's with fresh mozzarella and guacamole on focaccia bread. BBQ chips, drinks, and fresh baked cookies made it like a real celebration. I'd bought myself a new hat to wear in the sun, and I sported it at the pool. We pay lots of money for that beautiful hair color - no sense letting the sun fade it, I say.
Unfortunately, Ashley (who manages a Sunglass Hut) got a call from her store, and had two employees fizzle out on coming in to work that day. So off she trudged to take over. Sometimes it's no fun being a manager... Scott and L and I continued to enjoy the pool, until finally L had had enough. Scott started playing with a couple of little boys in the pool, throwing balls to them and throwing the smaller one. It reminded me of when Scott was 10 - we had just moved there, and Scott just loved any adult who would play with him in the pool. He was really kind to those two little boys - made my heart happy. The older one told him his dad was in "the bad place" (jail?) and so Scott gave him a little extra attention.
Back at the house, we cooled off and just sat and talked. I could talk to Scott for hours. His limit on talking to me is probably less, but he was a good sport yesterday. Soon, though, it was time to start getting dinner together, and so he went up to do some writing on his website on my computer. I was down in the kitchen chopping and stirring. Earlier in the day, L and I had made a blackberry cheesecake, and that was in the fridge chilling.
For dinner we had grilled chicken, fresh corn, and blueberry salad. It includes everything I've just said, plus celery, red onion, and blue cheese, barely covered in a really light dill dressing. We had a bunch of fingerling potatoes that we wrapped up in foil with garlic and rosemary and roasted on the BBQ. I'd also made zucchini fritters. The potatoes were kind of a swing and a miss - it was hard to get them evenly done on the BBQ. But the fritters were really good - lightly flavored with lemon zest. We had to kind of rush dinner because it was after 8:30 by the time we finished. Dark enough for fireworks to start!
As it turned out, the kids (Scott, Ashley, and Ashley's brother Ben) took off to a local secret spot that is good to watch the fireworks from, and that you can also escape quickly without getting caught up in foot traffic and jammed up streets. L and I stayed and cleaned up, and then walked upstairs, sank into chairs in front of our bedroom window, and had a wonderful view of another fireworks show being shot off at a local park a couple of miles away. It was a win/win to have a few minutes of peace and quiet, watch the amazing display, and collect ourselves before the kids got back wanting dessert. As I watched, I alternated between feeling love for and pride in our country, and feeling sad because I'm going to miss the kids when they move. That's what it's like being me - my mind just won't relax and let me totally enjoy anything. Not very often anyway.
The kids came back, and L brought out his secret stash of sparklers and small fountains he'd bought earlier that day. We had fun out on the patio waving sparklers and watching the little cones go off. I found it interesting the different ways people wave their sparklers. It kind of reflects their personalities:
Scott had big, expansive waves
L's were tightly controlled circles
Ashley's were complicated patterns
But any way you waved them, it brought out the kid in all of us. It reminded me of being small and watching my dad light the pinwheels (those horrible things that would break loose from the tree and chase you all over the yard), or the snakes, or the big fountains, and the wonder in our eyes as we watched them. Sparklers were always the last thing we lit (don't step on a hot one in bare feet!) And so it was last night.
It was a good day, and a good evening spent together. I'm going to miss these two so much. But I've never been to Texas, so now is a good time to make it's acquaintance. Sometimes I think that our kids have moved to so many different places to give us the chance to explore places we're not familiar with. Blast us out of our comfort zone here in California. So good luck to Scott and Ashley, as they prepare to start their new adventure.
Happy belated Fourth to everyone. We live in an amazing country. Lots to love, and much to be proud of, starting with our flag. Love may she wave.