Growing up, I have the most marvelous memories of our July Fourths spent at my most favorite place on earth, Blowing Rock, NC. My grandparents have a weekend mountain cabin on the 3rd hole of the Blowing Rock Country Club, and every year, the Wood side of my family would gather at this home, appropriately named The Wood Shed, to celebrate Independence Day, southern-style. The house has an abundant wood-planked front porch bejeweled with creaky rocking chairs. The entire attic of the house has been converted to a loft-like living quarters, which of course is where the "kids" always wanted to stay. We cousins made so many wonderful memories up those steep, groaning stairs. Like the time our freezer went out, and the grown-ups woke us up at midnight to eat all the ice cream before it melted. Or my baby cousin learning to walk for the first time. Or when, the summer after she was widowed, one of my grandmother's gentleman friends coming to ask the grandchildren for permission to marry her (we said yes; she said no). Long before we had central air, we'd keep cool with the windows open and the ceiling fans whirring, drifting off to sleep inhaling air scented with pine and mountain laurel.
How I love that place.
On the Fourth, we would make our merry at the annual Boathouse cookout, overlooking one the golf course ponds. It also doubled as the driving range, so we had 500 yards of open space to shoot fireworks at will. Fireworks were illegal to buy and sell in NC, so my dad and the other dads would drive over the mountains to Tennessee to buy our entertainment. I can still remember the terrified shrieks of my two-year-old brother when the firecracker booms scared him. Those were good times.
My memories of those Blowing Rock Fourths will always be filled with sparklers, hot dogs, parades, and laughter with the cousins. I so wish the same happy memories for Caroline and Aria as we celebrate the 4th through the years.
So can you see how I've set myself up to be disappointed? I'm expecting to make lasting memories for the girls, Aria in particular, thinking this will be the first Fourth she'll really remember.
Sadly, though, my takeaway from this July Fourth weekend is not fireworks or hot dogs or sparklers.
My memory of July 4, 2010, is that all but one member of my household somehow, some way, managed to...
With ... pee... poo... waste... byproduct ... Number One... Number Two....
You get the picture.
It all started when we were invited to a holiday party at my friend's farm in East Texas. (Hmmm... All About Farms. This could be where Aria gets her farming obsession from...). It rained all Sunday long up until about an hour before the festivities began, so needless to say, Aria had a mild little case of cabin fever. When we finally got to Miss Debwa's (her words) she was so excited to romp and play outside with her friends that she forgot to - er, potty. As it was, Mommy and Daddy, ourselves so happy to be watching her bounce on a trampoline outside and not on the bed cooped up inside a tiny lakehouse in the rain, forgot to remind her. Oops. My bad. Additionally, my friend Miss Debwa, our gracious host, picked Aria up and carted her around on her hip for about ten minutes before I held her myself and discovered the little ... problem.
Dear Miss Debwa, I don't know if you read my blog, but if you do, please take this as as an official, sincere apology for having to host the remainder of your party with my child's pee all over your clothes. I know you are too polite to every say anything to me about it, but please know that I know. And I am so sorry. And I think you throw awesome parties. And I want your baked brie recipe.
Had I prepared for this moment? The moment of the one-month-potty-trained-three-year-old wetting her really cute blue and white madras patchwork dress with matching bow and shoes? Absolutely not. In our haste to get out of the rainy lakehouse when we saw a moment of sunny weather, we just bolted. No extra pair of big-girl panties or a change of clothes. Therefore, Aria and Mommy (and Miss Debwa, bless her pee-stained heart) had to spend her Fourth of July coated in pee.
And it didn't end there.
Now, here I will admit, I had an inkling that Lexi and Cooper weren't feeling too well before we left the house. Cooper didn't even finish his breakfast, which is totally unlike him, the dog who will eat anything: aluminum foil, baby diapers, pyrex glass, you name it. I wish I was kidding. As it was, we impounded the dogs in the lakehouse garage for the duration of our absence so they wouldn't go running off hollering at a fishing boat, or a heron, or a raccoon, as frequently happens at the wilds of Lake Cypress. When we got home from Miss Debwa's and I lifted the garage door, they both greeted me joyfully, sniffing, licking, rubbing themselves against me.
Then the scent hit me.
I turned on the light and saw to my horror - sorry to offend here but I'm just keepin' it real - doggie diarrhea all over our garage floor. And apparently, they had rolled around in it too, because they were COV-ERED in it. All that bouncing and sniffing and rubbing against me? Yep, all over my cute Ann Taylor blue Fourth of July dress.
Did I say Ick?
I corralled the dogs down to the dock of the lake, and tossed them both in the water to let mother nature rinse them the heck off. Cooper weighs 90 lbs, and Lexi is about 75 lbs, so when I say "tossed", I really mean more like, heaved with the full force of my weight, shoulder against fur, which resulted in an increase in the cute dress to doggie diarrhea surface-area ratio. Finally, splash, they're both in the water and I am in desperate need of some toweling off. Up at the house, Chris and our friend, Thomas, were watching this entire episode take place through the window, snorting at me, in a dress trying to wrangle two large, resistant, dirty dogs into the water late at night.
I marched straight up to them and said, "Hey, y'all smell dog poo on this dress?" Probably not the comment Ann Taylor had in mind when she designed it. After laughing for what seemed like a full minute, Thomas answered, "It doesn't matter if you smell it or not - if you have to ask, it needs to be washed".
Dear Miss Ann Taylor, I don't know if you read my blog, but if you do, please take this as as an official, sincere apology for soiling your dress tonight with my daughter's pee and my dogs' diarrhea. I have the utmost respect for your designs, and I am hoping and praying that this situation will never happen again. And your petites are the perfect length for me. And what's up with skinny jeans?
The final offense occurred last night as we were arriving back home from our excrement-filled Fourth of July trip to the lake. I unstrapped Caroline from her carseat, hoisted her onto my hip, and went about the unloading all the
Then the scent hit me.
Right about the time Aria said, "EWW, Mommy! Caroline poopied in her carseat!"
I deposit her on the floor for a closer look and sure enough, there it was. An up-the-backer. Poop coming out the sides and top of her diaper - all over her clothes, all over her car seat, and all over - you guessed it - me. I started calling to Chris for help - why, I have no idea, it's not like he could do anything at this point. Of course, when he delicately pointed this out to me, I hollered at him, on the verge of tears, "Well, why don't you just poop or pee on me too?? Then we'd be five for five!"
Ah, yes. The beautiful memories I long to make for my children of the Fourth of July.
I guess there's always next year, right?
Remind me to bring my gas mask. And wear a poncho.