My Littles were crushed last night when the fuzzy sky outside turned angry and unleashed two hours of punishing rain, lightning and thunder. They stood in a little space in my kitchen we call the bump out, looking out the big picture windows at a storm that didn't much care about their fireworks plans. And, like all good children, their disappointment with the forecast (which didn't call for showers in my zip code, go figure) turned into a blame game, with me as their target. I love how mom is the family's number one fall guy. "Christopher, they're called FIREworks for a reason," I tried to explain to one of my cranky 10 year olds. "And fire doesn't really work with water."
When storm clouds again settled over my house this morning shortly after 5 and boomed me awake, I stumbled downstairs to see if anyone actually got to enjoy fireworks last night. I logged onto my computer and did a cursory check of the headlines. Unbelievable, I thought. We can't even enjoy America's independence without being at each other's throats.
I couldn't find (albeit, during a brief search) any pictures of kids watching fireworks, or anything benign and happy to represent July Fourth. Just headlines about people doing what we seem to do best these days. Bicker. Belittle. Bemoan. It's as predictable as Murphy lifting his leg on my basil plant in our backyard garden when he thinks I'm not looking. (If I present you with any pesto later this summer, beware.) Enough already.
If I didn't tell you eons ago, I stopped watching local and national television news the day my former employer and I consciously uncoupled. I'd stopped reading the newspapers long before that. At some point, one must weigh the benefits against the negatives and, aside from getting a predictably iffy forecast, I stopped seeing the benefits of news a while ago. If you follow me on Facebook or even here on PWB.com, you know I've dropped off the grid as of late. What people can't say via the mainstream media they say cowardly on social media, hiding behind their handles and anonymity of the keyboard. I struggle sometimes being part of that realm.
I'm going to be on the radio today and tomorrow. KDKA 1020AM with Marty Griffin from 9AM to 12PM. He's asked me to sit in on his shows with him, ostensibly to offer a different voice on the airwaves. One thing I won't be talking about is politics. Or hate. Or crime. Or violence. There are so many other things worth discussing, don't you think? Topics that unify us. Family. Love. Kindness. Giving back. I have endless stories to share of that ilk, and one thing's for sure, they won't leave you feeling the way my youngest boys did yesterday as dark storm clouds settled over their evening.
It's time to get through the dark clouds and find our way back to the sunshine. We need to return to the business of laughing and loving and celebrating each other's differences rather than expecting everyone be just like we are. I highly doubt the men at the table who were part of that incredible declaration 242 years ago signed their names expecting America would be the land of the Me. But selfishly, that's what too many of us have come to believe it is.