With Independence Day at the end of the week, my husband and I are busy planning the family get together. The girls are excited about the fireworks and looking forward to drawing shapes in the air with their sparklers. Little Man will be camped out on this mama’s lap; giggling at his sisters’ antics and watching colors explode in the sky with amazement. We’ll be safe and happy, with full bellies and surrounded by the people we love and the community that has nurtured our family. This is the freedom that we learn about in elementary school, the freedom that inspires songs, and the freedom that compels us to remove our hats and cover our hearts as we sing the National Anthem.
Patriotism is in my blood. While I haven’t served in the armed forces, my family members have. My husband has a special place to store items his grandfather brought back from Germany during WWII, and should either of us dare to be distracted during the playing of the National Anthem, one glance from his mama is enough to still the wandering eye and bring it back to Old Glory until the last note fades into silence. We are doing our best to raise our children with that same love of country and respect for the ideals that we stand for as a nation. We consider ourselves truly blessed to be part of the United States, and we want our children to recognize that this blessing is a gift we have not earned. But it is one that we can strive to live up to.
When I plan our family budget and we make a conscious effort to pay down our debt and live a financially responsible lifestyle, part of that is necessity. While we live in what I believe is the best nation on Earth, we are still vulnerable to medical emergencies, car breakdowns, and other incidents that make an emergency fund a good idea. But we’re also doing our best to live up to that ideal our country is built on: that we all have the freedom to pursue a better way of life, not that we’re entitled to a walk down easy street. The hard work of our ancestors laid a path for us to follow, but for most of us, it’s a path that takes dedication and discipline, but it’s also a path with a clear goal at the end. Freedom to pursue happiness, which for me doesn’t consist of living paycheck to paycheck, but instead, is trying my hand at new ventures, building my dreams, and helping to give my family the best future possible.
Here’s to another Independence Day. I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading.