July 04, 2013

The banner yet wave

Today was our precious USA's Independence Day (patriotic Bright's favorite holiday).  We were planning to stop at the visa office in the morning to renew our student visas, and then return home to enjoy an afternoon of poolside fun, followed by pork BBQ sandwiches and fireworks with the rest of the Americans in our neighborhood.

Things did not go as planned, of course.  Our "quick stop" at the visa office turned into an 8-hour ordeal.  We arrived at 9:30 a.m. and we didn't have our visas until almost 5:30.  If it weren't for Winnie the Pooh, matchbox cars, and the fact that our children are well-behaved, I would have lost my ever lovin' mind.

But the visa trouble wasn't our only holiday hang-up.  At about 3 o'clock, the skies opened and a vivacious downpour pummeled our city.  There would be no swimming after all, we informed the kids, nor fireworks.

Bright wept.

"I'm so sorry, Bright," I comforted.  "Unfortunately, Independence Day is hard to celebrate in the rain."

"It's called Independence Day!" he said.  "It shouldn't be dependent on the weather!"

I bit my lip to avoid laughing.  My clever, dramatic son.  Bless him.

And then the time came to leave the visa office (which felt a little like being released from jail, though I wouldn't know from personal experience) and there we stood staring out into the downpour, umbrella-less with four small kids.  Our car waited for us in an obscure parking lot a quarter of a mile away, because as things go, the visa office parking lot is under construction.

Of course.

"OK, kids," I said, bending down like a pee-wee soccer coach before a big game.  Daniel, meanwhile, just stood glaring at the rain, visas receipts in hand, completely spent.  "It looks like we're going to get that afternoon swim after all!  This'll be fun, right?  Yay!  We're going to get soaked, just like we're in the pool.  You guys ready?  Let's go!"

SPLISH, SPLASH, SPLOOSH, SPLASH, we went as we ran, pellmell, through ankle-deep water all the way to the our tiny red van.  I sang Lee Greenwood's Proud to be an American at the top of my lungs.  Nobody joined in, but neither were they screaming or crying.  Considering their ages and the amount of rainwater that was dashing against their faces, I thought that the run to the car was a success!

And in the end, we all agreed to be grateful for our 4th of July at the visa office.  We need visas, Daniel pointed out, because we are Americans.  He's right, we are Americans.  We are!  And proud of it (especially Bright).

The poolside party got moved to a ballet studio in the community building on the premises of our apartment complex, and we ate those delicious pork BBQ sandwiches, and we vowed to reconvene on Saturday to set off fireworks.  Not all was lost!

Thank you, L0RD, for the American passports that we carry.  May we steward our privilege well, and for your glory.