On the 4th of July, as we sat on a blanket on our front lawn and watched the fireworks explode directly overhead I looked at my two girls and thought about how lucky they are. They are living a charmed life - a life of experiences and privileges that I can't imagine having enjoyed at their young age. I always loved to see the fireworks, but we either had to go downtown long before the sky began to darken or accept a more distant view that still filled me with awe. I remember one year when we did experience the explosion of lights directly overhead. I was thrilled, amazed, and more than a little afraid, sure that the sparks would fall before the fire was out. My girls have no such fear since that is what they're used to.
Just this past weekend Doc and I took the girls to the local amusement park. A short boat or car ride away, that was our fourth visit this summer. With season passes (that Doc's parents get us each year for Christmas), we are able to go whenever the mood strikes. Whether it is hot, cold, or just right. Whether we have a few hours or all day. Whether the sky is cloudy, rainy or sunny. No matter the reason, if we want to go, we can. As a child I remember taking two trips to this same amusement park. Not two trips each year, but two trips over the course of 18 years (though we lived much further away). Each trip was special, fun, and has its own unique memories. I don't know if my girls will have the same types of memories from their trips.
Each week during the summer the girls and I meet a friend and her daughter to travel to a nearby island. We take a ferry over, eat lunch, and attend a mini nature camp program. The girls are able to dissect fish, hold snakes, feed frogs, see and learn about bald eagles, owls, bats, plants and more. How lucky are they to be able to learn about our local flora and fauna in such a hands-on setting? Do they have any idea that there are some people that have never seen a bald eagle at all, much less from 5 feet away?
While I LOVE that my children are able to experience all these wonderful activities, I also worry. Am I setting them up for disappointment in the future? Or is each generation just different? I don't feel as if I was deprived of anything as a child even though my experiences were so different than those of my children. I grew up in a city. We had theaters, malls, roller rinks, bowling alleys, sidewalks where we could ride our bikes, and the opportunity to take any type of lesson we might want. My children are growing up in a "vacation community" with unique shops, beaches, amusement parks, water parks, lakes, boats, and open space. When my girls grow up and have their own children will they live in the city? Will they worry that they are spoiling their children by taking them to the museum, theater, concerts, performances, and five star restaurants?
Though Peanut and Pumpkin might not realize exactly how good their lives are, I think they are appreciative. They always thank us for taking them to the amusement park. They told us how much they loved the fireworks. They get excited each week for our island trip. Whether you're living a city life, a country life, a vacation life, or something else, the important thing is that you appreciate what you do have. No matter how much you have or where you are, I think everyone has the potential to live a charmed life.