I used to think I had to do everything right. Exactly right. No mistakes, no half-way, no sort-of, mediocre or almost. It applied to everything. Grades, housework, raising children, running a business, taking pictures, knitting, being a wife, work, everything. Well, actually I guess I still think that way, but it has taken having children to get me to lighten up a little. (thank goodness)
Case in point: trying to take their picture. The recently toothless, the tan, with dirty black feet, all three. It's a lesson in futility.
At least it was last night while waiting for the fireworks display, which was great, by the way, and even impressive for this small town. And as I sat and watched the lights and listened to the booms and looked at the awed expressions on my children's faces, I have to admit I wondered how there was still money (in this small town) for fireworks when every other budget seems to be getting slashed to the core. Specifically the schools but heck, even the dump is now closed one day a week and there hasn't been an animal at the animal shelter in years, I guess they leave that responsibility up to the private groups.
When I let my mind wander to all these things I usually end up thinking I don't know what's right anymore. Or maybe it's just that there isn't only one right. Maybe fireworks have something that's intangible that we still need. Maybe they're the reminder that life goes on even when times are hard, that there is still a community that can come together for celebration, for children (mine) running themselves silly playing tag and hide-and-seek and ending up in a giggling pile all over themselves on a blanket spread out on the Fourth of July.
Maybe they help us remember that all of life is important, especially from the viewpoint of a child. I know that in years to come my children won't look back and remember the shady dealings of politicians and public figures, but I know they'll have dreamy recollections of hot summer nights, barefoot in the crispy grass during a July drought catching fireflies and watching fireworks. At least that's what I remember.