*Sing it Bing. 

Our Independence Day started off with great bang (no pun intended) as we discovered one or both of The Shortlings (I have my suspicions about the guilty party) had smuggled home some friends from camp in the form of a colony of lice.


If you have read about the Great War on Lice 2011, you'll know we're old hat (pun intended) with this issue and honestly, finding it myself meant the children weren't under threat of expulsion from school.  This fact alone, meant I could deal with it swiftly and wasn't going to have to miss a couple of very important Work Things coming up while I tried to convince some school nurse that my children were no longer unclean! unclean!

So whilst I simultaneously washed every stitch of bedding in the house, treated three heads of shoulder length hair for lice (I still don't really think I had them, but basically if one person in the house does, you need to assume they all do), combed through them all with fine-toothed combs (I totally get that expression now), and tried to explain to The Dormouse why we had to postpone our promise of a trip to the rock climbing gym (you generally have to wear their gear/helmets and knowingly transmitting parasites to gym equipment seemed pretty skeezy, even for us), I was pretty proud of myself for not being overly irritated about the whole predicament.  That is until I did twelve loads of laundry on a holiday and both The Shortlings were pissed at us because they didn't get to do Every Single Thing they wanted that day.  Then I fantasized about leaving them on the side of the highway with signs around their necks that say, "Good kid.  Take one."

The KingofHearts helped though.  He went out and got a haircut.

Stupid men and their stupid short hair.

By the time we really finished with that, it was about five o'clock and we had just enough time to try and salvage some of the day.  So we packed up an impromptu picnic and drove over to a parking garage where we spent last fourth of July.  It's our secret weapon when we can't get somewhere specific for the Fourth, like the Capitol lawn or Philadelphia art museum steps.  We find a fireworks show we'd like to see which we know will be way too crowded for comfort.  Then we find a parking garage near it with an open air top floor and drive up there and tailgate.  

We are not the only people who do this, but there are few enough of us that we can generally spread out and enjoy ourselves.

While we were waiting, The Shortlings made friends with the Ethiopian family in the van next to us. Then they all got together and managed to involve the Asian kid down the row, the other white kid on the other side of the lot, and the mixed race kid across from us in a grand game of hide and seek behind parked cars. 

 The Caterpillar has a unique way of counting when she is It.

Some more folks showed up and a few of them brought soccer balls and footballs.  So then there were soccer games and games of 500.

And at some point, I realized everyone on the rooftop is sharing food and toys and pop-its and suggesting games for the kids to play together and oh look see that kid in my car?  That's not mine. But weirdly, I'm cool with it and so were his parents.

And no one is really keeping score about who gave which kids what or who's allowed to play wiht that basketball they're using to set off the pop-its because we just kind of all like each other even though we only just met three hours ago.  

Then we watched fireworks and celebrated our country's independence through the t-top of a Jeep Wrangler. 

I've been pretty disappointed in the discourse of our country lately and am astounded at the ability of entire Groups of people to thumb their noses at entire Other Groups of people and basically say, oh I know what you think doesn't affect or diminish my life in any way but I don't care what you think so screw you.  It's disheartening.

This night was a microcosm of that great American melting pot I sang about on Saturday mornings when network TV used to try to trick children into learning.  We likely won't see one of those families ever again. We didn't exchange information. We won't call or meet for dinner.  But we had this moment together on the roof of the parking garage.  This lovely, perfect, un-pressured moment.  This is kind of the point of the whole grand experiment, I think. To see if we can all make it work and get along. 

I'm pretty sure we can. It's just whether or not we want to.