Ahhh, Independence Day. What a great day to gather with family, have a cookout, spend time with friends, watch a few fireworks, what could be better than that, right?

So, my family and I did, well, almost that. We decided to have a RELAXING 4th of July for the first time in a while. We went out to eat for pizza, went to Target and strolled around for a while, and then stayed in our small town to watch our small town fireworks display. I believe this was actually the first year that we have had fireworks here. Usually we drive to Nashville to see the big ones, but talk about stressful (we usually don’t get home until after midnight when we do that, with all 3 kids!)

So, there we were, taking in the fireworks display, when an errant thought runs through my head. I turned and asked my eldest daughter (she’s 7), if she knew what we celebrated on the 4th of July.

She said no and shrugged her shoulders.

I can tell you, at that moment, I felt like a failure as a mother. How could I drag my child to fireworks displays for the last 7 years, 8 now technically, and she not even know about our country’s Independence Day?

It gets worse. While the fireworks are still popping, I made a fledgling attempt at an explanation. I told her that the 4th of July was like our country’s birthday.

To this, she responded, “Well, why don’t we get any presents then?”

I wanted to run and hide. It was shame being heaped on me by leaps and bounds. I spent another minute trying to recover, then explain, but she was clearly more interested in the fireworks.

I have always made it my duty as a parent to ensure my children know exactly the meaning of Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. I’ve never bothered with Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Labor Day.

I have a new mission now for next year. My child WILL be able to explain to anyone who asks what the purpose of all 3 of those “other” holidays are. Granted, I’ll have to do a little research myself regarding Labor Day, but the other 2, she’ll know.

As adults, I encourage you too to take a minute and reflect on how lucky we are to be able to celebrate our countries independence. We received our freedom at a very high cost, and it should never be taken for granted.

Happy Birthday, USA!