It's a bittersweet memory. Growing up the 4th of July was this amazing day that we spent at my Aunt Helen and Uncle Ron's! They lived on a lake in central Michigan and the entire family (my dad was one of eight kids) and their friends would stop by throughout the day.
There was a lot of love at the lake! First thing you smelled was the Pine Sol and cigarettes and then you smelled the coffee in the pot! There was shouting and card playing, kids running around in semi-wet swim suits and laughter. Tons of laughter.
Aunt Helen had oddball games planned and they were sure to make you laugh some more! Egg toss or balloons passed between knees.......you never knew what you were in for. Except good times! There was food everywhere but her golden rule was that you couldn't swim until at least a half hour after eating. We tried to tell her that wasn't real science when we were older (and full of ourselves) but you weren't changing Helen!
Then as the years passed and life changed my parents and I opened our store in a tourist area along the coast of Lake Michigan. It was a seasonal store and all the money had to be made between May and September with Holiday time usually being the most lucrative. So my 4th of July celebration became waiting on customers and trying to find the time to eat a quick burger or pizza (before ceilac diagnosis!)
And more fitting when Aunt Helen passed on her favorite Holiday. We were going to close the shop but some amazing friends stepped in and we stayed open.
I made some terrific friends during that almost fifteen years.......and then moved to Arizona where the 4th was not really the same Holiday at all! It was too damn hot here to celebrate! Halloween and Thanksgiving were amazing but the summer Holiday time was just not the same.
Flash forward to 2012. I booked a vacation for me and my kid to go to Michigan during late June into July. We trekked cross country with my parents in their truck to Minnesota where Lex met her online friend. Then we went to Michigan where my parents dropped us at our rental car place and they continued on to their friends and we went to see mine.
That 4th of July radically changed my life. While I was away my world at "home" changed. Everything I thought I knew about my relationship with my husband tilted and twisted off into an unknown Universe. It became that point between "before" and "after".....only I wouldn't know the full ramifications of that weekend of that 4th of July for about six months.
Flash forward to tonight. The eve of another 4th of July weekend. Still reeling in uncertainty in many areas of my life. Still learning that life is not always fair or that sometimes no matter how "good" you've been or how much you have always played by the rules, you cannot make others abide by them.
I am reminded of this Holiday and the great Joy and Pain that it can cause. I will try to focus on the good memories; of people that helped shape the person I am today. Those with integrity and hope. I will let go of the bad memories and be at peace with all the things to come. I cannot control everything, especially people, and I understand that now. I only hope the future will contain a return to happy Holiday 4th of July memories for me...and maybe some in a cooler climate!