On July 4, Teddy turned 10 months old. Kate and Mister were staying in Williamsburg for a few days with their dear friends, the Mortte's. It wastruly their home away from home. The house and furniture were familiar. Kate helped around the kitchen, scrapbooked a little, took naps when she could, tried to take some walks and played the piano. She felt enormous, and the baby kicked often. She found herself grateful that Teddy was starting to walk. She knew it wouldn't take long for him to be zooming around and getting into things, but she felt that would be easier to deal with than having to carryhim everywhere!
The Mortte's invited Kate, Mister, and Teddy to join them for the fireworks and concert in Colonial Williamsburg in the evening. At first, Kate was skeptical. She remembered their first July 4 in Virginia--2010, it was. They had walked over to the big hill by the Netherland's Carillon which provided a good view of the National Mall...they and about ten thousand other people. It was 9:30 PM, nearly 90 degrees out, zillions of people everywhere. Horrible. That's what it was. It was all she could think of now, people everywhere, hot temperatures, being stuck and pregnant! But her almost bottomless love of fireworks won out in the end, and the whole crew drove over early to the lawn in front of the Governor's Palace in CW. The found a spot (barely!) squished between blankets and chairs and set up their own modest accouterments.
Kate watched with tired eyes as Teddy instantly started investigating their neighbors. To the right was a family with a couple teens playing Dutch Blitz. Teddy watched in awe as they picked up and slapped down their colored cards. She tensed as he scootched closer and closer... until Mister scooped him up. Kate closed her eyes briefly. She should be enjoying this. Of course she was enjoying this. The weather was, in fact, absolutely perfect. The sun was up, the air graciously cool. Her son was adorably cute, and her husband was doing all the running after him that needed to be done. Nevertheless, she had a vision of her life a few months ahead, and it made her feel tired, maybe even incompetent. No! she insisted, Ineedto enjoy this. This, the beautiful life that God had given her, was meant to be loved and appreciated. She would seek the joy, and she was confident that somehow, God would grant it even in the midst of tiredness. After all, she reasoned, one CAN be tired and joyful at the same time...even if it's not ideal.
In front of their carved out territory, sat a pair of stout over-tanned grandparents. They cooed at Teddy as soon as they saw him, and exclaimed over his beautiful blue eyes. He obligingly batted his lashes, grinned up at them, and patted the grandmother with his hand. Kate tensed again as she reached over and picked him up. Should she object? It felt awkward having strangers pick up her baby. She felt instinctively that she was being silly--after all, she was sitting close enough to grab him away without even getting up! And of course it was fine--the lady bounced Teddy expertly and talked about her own grandson, and Kate was relieved that there were so many child-friendly people around her (another element lacking in their first Virginian July 4 experience!)
They talked and waited and watched Teddy play and then the concert started. There was a concert before the fireworks! American music, of course...the best of Copland, John Williams, Sousa, and a few folk songs thrown in. Kate sat in a blissful trance as the family melodies rolled over her and the sun sank lower and the faces around her began to be shrouded in twilight. Then, at the final chords of "Stars and Stripes Forever", the first fireworks exploded in the sky.
Watching Teddy was almost as fun as watching the fireworks themselves. It was well past his bedtime, and the music had almost put him to sleep; but at the first crack, he was completely entranced. Each subsequent explosion was better than the last. Kate's favorites were the starbursts that left long golden tails as each bright dot drifted toward earth. But they were all wonderful--each many-colored sparkle burning brightly for just an instant against the black sky. Motherhood had given Kate a heightened sense of symbolism. These are the joys of my life, she thought. Bright, brief, coming in quick succession, and always changing. I must not be wishing for the ones I had before. I need to focus on what's now, in front of me, and is completely delightful.
Two more months of an aching back and stiff joints and being kicked in the middle of the night didn't sound completely delightful. But on the other hand, the kicking was special in its own way. Teddy, of course, was special in every way, growing and changing so fast. And Mister...well, he was incomparable. In this difficult season, he was always serving and loving faithfully. And God gave her this blessing to share adventures with him, side by side! Well, she amended her previous insight, I suppose not ALL my joys are changing. Mister was always there, dependable and steadfast, a bright explosion of dust all over her life.