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From the mind of mom: Celebrating celebrations

As a working mom, a sick mom, this past week and a half has been far from my greatest. The mornings have come too soon, the kids have made too much racket and the task of separating myself from the bed each morning has been one of Herculean effort.

Rereading these two sentences confirms the next point I’ve yet to convey. I’m not proud, and it’s not pretty: I, Andie Foley, have allowed myself to succumb to what we lofty womenfolk like to refer to as a “man cold.”

The world is ending. The sky is falling. Get your mourning gear ready, for the end is surely near!

Or that’s what I tell myself as I sit, nostrils stuffed with tissue, blanket wrapped around my body like a cocoon.

And it was in this exact state on Tuesday, as I shivered and once again reminded my husband that death was surely eminent, that I heard a knock come to our door. I stifled my moans of misery, listening as my other half ventured forth to answer.

When he returned, it was bearing gifts: four pieces of freshly fried fish.

Let me tell you about my neighbor’s fish: it’s that sort of religious, change-your-life, fried outside on a propane burner with a mixture of love, care and seasoning experience that will bring tears of joy to your eyes the second you take a bite. Its presence in my house took me from death’s door into at least some semblance of willingness to live — and that, my friends, was a pretty lengthy step.

The first time I experienced this wonderful creation, it was Memorial Day — another time of the year when families and friends gather en masse over mountains of food for warm-weather fun and fellowship.

Ailments momentarily forgotten as I took that first bite, I realized: It was the week of the Fourth of July. Independence Day. A historical coming together while declaring ourselves apart.

And oh, I thought past the chew, swallow and sigh, how I love my city, county, state and country on days and weeks like these.

In moments like these, in expanses of collective celebration and togetherness. When our communities come together, young, old, black, brown, white or maybe even purple to celebrate “us.”

To celebrate the birth of a nation, to remember the lives lost to protect the freedom therein or to honor those who served along the way.

I’m blessed to call my neighbors some of the most giving and welcoming individuals I’ve ever met. But even outside of my street, I see this sense of community expand in these times of celebration.

Property lines and possessions blur. We journey down streets, around fences, we share bug spray, charcoal, ice, drinks and — sometimes — life-changing filets of fish.

We gather in groups, young and old, to cast our eyes heavenward and watch fireworks displays offered by other unifying forces: businesses, museums or towns.

We’re a nation independent and united — and that’s just the type of world I want for my girls. Today, tomorrow and always.

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