Independence Day 2018

Happy Independence Day!

It was always one of my favorite holidays as a kid because I love hot weather and we always were on Cape Cod. I remember huddling together on the beach watching knock off fireworks from amateur hobbyists. We always had American flag cake, which is pound cake with whip cream and strawberries and blueberries in a pattern reminiscent of our flag. It was always fun to assemble.

We did spend the holiday in our home town a few times as well. My favorite was watching town fireworks with my sister Emily one year. While it was a drag to get out of there with traffic backed up for nearly an hour, it was still enjoyable. She and I always liked them best so I felt like it was something we shared. I still always think of her when I hear the first booms of the year.

There was one year in Amherst that  Ben and I watched fireworks with his mom far removed from the site but from atop a hill at the local middle school so we could catch the ones that cleared a certain altitude above the horizon. I remember a lot of laughing and seeing partial fireworks, like the top crown of the high ones.

Then there were the years in NYC. The first couple years, we stayed in our neighborhood in Harlem and just caught whatever small ones were set off nearby. One year, we stood on the rooftop of Ben’s apartment building to scope out what could be seen from the loftier vantage point. All I remember is some shell zooming too close for comfort and landing surprisingly close to my feet. A couple of years, we went and saw the huge Macy’s fireworks display along the Hudson River. My mom came and we all went to Cafe Con Leche afterwards. A margarita or two later and late into the evening, we had enough laughs and stories to carry us for weeks.

Nowadays, my recognition of the holiday is muted–very little happens. I guess I’m sad about that to some degree but also feel like the thrill of fireworks has largely died out. That must be the product of growing up. Now, I near equally see the aspects of them that are a nuisance. I must be becoming cynical in my old age; that’s not good.

Today, we will be enjoying some time off together. I do have work to do this morning, but most of the day, I’ll enjoy some time away from the computer. Even though it’s a weekday, we will enjoy things like it’s the weekend. Ben and I have both had a rough few days so I know we both need today to be relaxing and connecting. We are both reminded of how exhausting emotionally taxing things are and how they could be catastrophic without a strong, stable foundation.

I woke up at 1:15am and never went back to sleep. I cleaned closets at 2am and chatted online to a friend in another time zone who had yet to go to sleep. It’s a relief that I’m getting much better at staying in a good mood when I’m totally exhausted or in pain. I’ve been sleeping so little that if this improvement had not been achieved, I’d be in a perpetually bad mood. Although I’m far from being happy all the time right now (and this has been a particular poor week in terms of my mood), I think I’ve been doing a stellar job separating my physical feelings from polluting my mood.


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