A fourth of firsts

Jul. 12, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

Last week, we celebrated America's birthday. We went out in our red, white and blue in honor of the day, July 4, 1776, that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. We had parades, soap box derbies and watermelon eating contests and spent time with our friends and families.

This Fourth of July I conquered some fears and tried some new things by spending the day on the lake. That may sound normal to most people, but for me it was a big deal. I'm not the biggest fan of deep water or boats, but I figured it could be fun, so I gave it a try. My friend Clay has a house on the lake complete with boats and jet skis and he was generous enough to invite us over for the day.

My family has never really done anything for the holiday. When I was younger, I usually spent my Fourth of Julys celebrating my friend Nicole's birthday. We would gather and enjoy birthday cake and set off fireworks in honor of another year of Nicole.

But this year, I loaded up with my friends Katie and Amanda and headed to the lake. Of course my momma was nervous about the whole thing because she is also terrified of deep water and thinks lakes are disgusting. But I told her that I was confident that everything would be fine.

I had been out on a boat with Clay once before, but this was a little different because we were planning to spend all day out there. Although the weather seemed threatening, the four of us and some others piled on and headed out.

After the first little bit on the boat, we headed back to the dock for some jet skiing. Amanda and Katie went first with Clay, and then they turned to me and began begging me to take a turn. So I gave in to the peer pressure.

I slowly put on a life jacket and made my way over to the edge of the dock. With shaking hands, I climbed on in front of Clay and informed him that if he went too fast or threw me off I would never come back to his house again. I think he understood that I was serious because we only made it up to 30 mph during the ride. However, after I got used to it, it wasn't as bad as I had expected and I even drove for a minute.

It was during the second trip out on the boat that I conquered my next fear. That was when we got caught in a rain storm. It has rained on and off all day, but this rain was coming in sideways and painful and cold when it hit us.

Instead of waiting it out on the boat, Katie and Amanda decided that it would be better to take our chances in the water where it was warmer.

Everyone jumped off into the water and I was the lone person braving the rain. So I reluctantly put on a life jacket and slowly lowered myself in also. This was a really big deal for me. I refused to let go of the boat, but I did make it into the water. That was after I informed Clay that if he did not stop pulling on my legs to get me in the water I would never come back to his house again. Anyway, it was quite an accomplishment for Erin. Everyone should be proud.

But the best part of the night was seeing the fireworks over the lake. Sitting out there with all of the other boats and enjoying the show was amazing. I'm a big firework fan and seeing them being shot off in all different areas of the sky was the perfect ending to my holiday.

Besides my nervousness and the little bit of sunburn I got on my shoulders, it was a pretty great day. I feel a lot more comfortable around boats now and I think that I would like to try jet-skiing again. We will see.

And happy belated birthday America and Nicole!