Fourth of July was always one of my favorite holidays growing up. The three F’s – family, friends, and food – are in full swing like most other holidays. But a fourth – fireworks – always put it over the top. As an adult, the best part of fireworks is watching my kids as they watch the fireworks. It’s magical. For me, it’s better than watching the fireworks themselves. Except this year.
We’d spent the day with my daughter, Margaret, who is spending the summer in LA, but went back to OC in the early evening. My younger daughter was begging to see a firework show so after some first-class coaxing my husband into going (he’s anti-crowd), we went. I was excited because I like fireworks. And compliments of Disneyland, I hear them at approximately 9:30 each night (we live close enough to hear them faintly, far enough away not to be able to see them). When you’re watching fireworks, the loud booming sound enhances the visual effects, making it a holistic experience. But without the visual, the booming sound that for some bizarre reason I often mistake for gunfire is just really annoying and disruptive. So by the Fourth of July, I’m pretty revved up to co-mingle sight with sound and enjoy the fireworks in their entirety.
The moment we got to the park and saw all the families noshing, playing, and just immersed in the preshow excitement, I got crazy sad. I felt like part of my me was missing. I wanted to focus on my husband and younger daughter but Margaret’s absence was weighing on me heavily. This was completely irrational because we spent most of our day not getting along. We hadn’t seen each other in two weeks and for some reason, Margaret and I argued and just didn’t connect like I’d anticipated we would. Given this, you’d think I’d be happy that she wasn’t with us. But I wasn’t. I resisted the growing urge to drive back to LA to be with her.
And then, the most amazing thing happened. She called me. Granted it was to complain about something irrational like potentially dying because her veins were bulging out of her arms – but she called me. Not a text message. A phone call! And then I did something crazy. I told her how I felt. That I missed her like crazy and felt like I was walking around with half a heart. I hesitated, worried that she’d reject what I was saying by rushing off the phone because she doesn’t like to deal with those pesky things called “feelings.” But I told her and another amazing thing happened. She shared with me how she felt – that she misses me too. She actually told me, which I know isn’t easy for her. Again, not a text but her actual voice. Progress!
After we hung up, the fireworks show started. It wasn’t the same not being able to see Margaret’s face in utter awe as she watched loud, booming noises burst into colorful mosaics in the sky. But knowing I get to watch her face next year made all the difference.