- At Home
On the 4th of July we celebrate our independence. This year I would myself reflect on how I felt about my own personal independence.
When the children were young, it only took one trip to see the huge fireworks show where the noise scared the children to the point where they blew up like Mt. St. Helen’s that I knew it would be a long time before we would go again. So we settled for doing small fireworks at my parent’s home with family and friends. The fourth of July always seemed like a huge party even though the fireworks were little tanks that my dad and brothers lit in the middle of the street.
For the first time in 40 years, this is my first fourth of July alone, my first real “independent” independence day. I woke up feeling a whole lot like it was a day to celebrate. Knowing that the children were expecting some sort of celebration, I went to the store and bought hotdogs and chips, my attempt at a good old American fourth of July cookout meal.
I ran to work to finish a few stories and one interview turned into three and a few hours turned into eight hours. I got home in time to realize the night of independence was going to include me depending on a fast pizza delivery guy.
We might have missed the cookout, but we still had the fireworks.
My brilliant plan was that we would walk together to the huge firework show going on a mile away at the park. I had it timed perfectly, getting the kids out of the house with just enough time to walk the mile to make it to the fireworks. Before we left, I tried not to stress over the loads of laundry that seemed to have quadrupled since I left for work earlier that day nor the dishes that had piled up from the meals I missed. No, tonight it was about celebrating Independence Day, even though moments like these I left me wishing I wasn’t this independent and had a dependant other who could help.
Before we left I told the kids to change and get dressed in protective clothing because of the mosquitoes that would be on a feeding frenzy after the afternoon rain. I changed into jeans, a long sleeve black t-shirt, sock and tennis shoes. Apparently I am the only one who listens to me because I came downstairs to be met by kids wearing tank tops, shorts and flip-flops.
“Mom, don’t you think you will be a little hot?” asked one of the kids.
They agreed to being bathed in bug spray instead of a wearing a long sleeve shirt. I however, was not going to let the mosquitoes get me, so I remained in my mosquito protective clothing.
As we began the one mile trek to the firework show, Finn stopped in the street in front of our house.
He looks at me bewildered and said, “Mommy, what do you mean the fireworks are not going to be on the ground?”
I try and reassure him that this will be one of the most amazing things he sees.
“I like the ones on the ground” he cries.
The girls are walking and texting as we head down the street and I remind them that this is going to be a moment when they will have to look up in the sky and not down at their texts.
Half way there, I am drenched in sweat. Maybe the kids were right. Maybe wearing a long sleeve shirt wasn’t the best choice. I’m sweating so much I look like I have been running a marathon.
Suddenly I hear the sound. NOOOO!!! I work in media; I get times of events directly from the source. How can the fireworks already have begun? We still have fifteen minutes before they should start.
I watch through the trees and see distant colors popping up in the sky. “Walk faster,” I holler at the kids. They are talking and laughing oblivious that we are missing the show.
We make it to the corner just in time to see the finale. As the last firework explodes in the air with a huge bang, I realize that my children are no longer at the age where they cover their ears and scream. Unfortunately, I also realized that I am at the age when the loud sound of the fireworks makes my bladder jump a little too much.
Less than a minute after we get there, the fireworks are over and we begin the long trek back. I am dripping from head to toe and they are telling me how much more they like it when we light the little fireworks on the ground in front of the house. Everyone is whining I am thinking I have no independence.
Half way to our house we come to the turn where their dad lives. They run to his house to get water, cool off and have him drive them home. I continue the trek home alone, for the first time all day, I have a moment of independence.
As I walked in the quiet, I couldn’t help but reflect on my definition of independence. I am not sure if I want to be independent. This week I have seen a lot of changes and how much people need each other. I think I like celebrating that I have people who depend on me and I depend on them. I am glad we have this day to celebrate our Independence as a country, but in my own life, I like being surrounded by those who depend on meand those that I can depend on.