Happy Independence Day, my dearest friends! First, I must say loud and proud just how much it means to me to be an American. Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a bit so I can give you some family history...
My sweet grandparents took the biggest risk of their lives when they made the decision to flee their home country of Lithuania during World War II, to seek safety and refuge in the United States. In covered wagons with bombs dropping all around them, they found their way to Omaha and into the basement of St. Anthony’s parish, in the heart of South Omaha. That is where my Grandpa and Grandma first met one another. That is where they were married. That is where my dad and his siblings went to school. That is where the entire family learned English. And that is where they worked hard to build the American Dream.
When they first met in that parish basement, they had nothing. They didn’t know one word of English. But they had strength, courage, and determination to carve a path for their future. My dad and his siblings are first generation born in the US. And my Grandma did not take that lightly. She was a huge proponent of immersing her family into all things American culture. Sure, she kept some of our Lithuanian traditions (and we still practice them to this very day), but she never took for granted that they now were living in the US of A and were free. Yes, free to practice their culture, traditions, and religion, but FREE to do and be so much more!
I’m just like my Grandma. Petite in stature, tiny legs, large chest, a thick head of dark hair, and bright blue eyes. I also have her sensitive heart, determined spirit, and unwavering faith in God. It’s quite poignant that this holiday weekend marks my departure from my “corporate” day job. Because as of tomorrow, I am officially my own boss! Hey, I’m taking the long weekend off! But in all seriousness, I am FREE to create the life I want. I am FREE of other people’s schedules, priorities, and demands. I am FREE to follow my dreams. I am free because of the sacrifices my grandparents made. I’m free because this great country accepted my family and gave them safety and a new life. I am free because my parents worked tirelessly to provide an amazing life for my sister and I. I’m free because of the confidence they instilled in me and taught us that the sky is the limit if you work hard & pray. I am FREE because of the brave men and women who serve and protect the greatest country on earth!
I do not take any of my freedoms, large or small, for granted. My heart is full and the gratefulness I have is overflowing! Today my parents are having a pool party at their casa and I’m making my savory deviled eggs. There will be red, white, & blue desserts and drinks, yummy food on the grill, a freedom-inspired play list, an abundance of laughter, and a whole lotta love! I hope you all have an amazing day no matter how you celebrate YOUR Independence Day!
This post is dedicated to Grandma Sab, my sweet angel above.