Today is a somewhat bittersweet day for me here. It is one of my absolute favorite holidays in the year, and yet I haven't been on American soil to celebrate it since I moved here in 2008. Last year, since it was Bug's first 4th of July, M had a special flag cake made for us and it was delivered to me as a surprise in the middle of the day - he also had bought the cutest romper from Baby Gap that I quickly put Bug in for some photos. He managed to still make it a special day for me, and I am so thankful for his thoughtfulness.
It's a bittersweet day because I absolutely love this holiday, but most of the things I love about it, I can't replicate over here. I have such great memories of the 4th. Growing up we'd spend the whole day with my parents. We'd goof off in the pool for hours with my dad who'd have the day off, only getting out for burgers my mom grilled (or popsicles, later in the day!). In the evening we'd head into town to watch the parade, waving at all the firefighters in their shiny red trucks, and then we'd walk past my old public library to the local baseball playing fields and we'd camp out on a blanket with a picnic amongst hundreds of other families, playing until the sun went down, and we'd all lie on our backs and watch the fireworks light up the sky...it was my favorite day of the summer.
When I grew up and moved to NYC, I still celebrated the 4th each year with a giant BBQ, huge potluck-style party on Jones Beach with friends, and at night in front of thousands and thousands of people having their own parties, the most massive fireworks 'spectacular' would launch off a giant barge out in the ocean - if you think you've seen beauty, seeing the reflection of the fireworks off the ocean waves whilst they're exploding in the sky directly above? Well that's magic. The smell of the fireworks after they've all exploded and you're only left with a slight dusting of ash on the breeze - that always brings me back to the 4th.
I wish that I were home to celebrate today. I miss my family so much on a day like today - a day where you spend all your time with family and friends, laughing and eating and playing silly games. I miss 90 degree heat (yes, I do - today), running through the sprinkler and jumping into the pool to do a cannonball justnexto but not quite on top of my brother or sister. :) I miss lying on top of the covers in my hot upstairs bedroom at night, smelling the cut grass through the window screen, and listening to the sound of crickets on the breeze. I miss summertime in New York - bonfires in backyards, toasted marshmallows on the perfect stick, playing Capture the Flag with the local kids in a field behind a friend's house. I miss going to the lake and getting frozen custard by the pier.
Today makes me miss my childhood, my family, my friends back home, and my country. But it also makes me proud to be an American. An upstate New Yorker. A Rochesterian. A Powers. I want more than anything for Bug to know that side of me as she grows up. That she'll get to experience the fantastic celebrations of the 4th for herself, and that she'll create her own memories of these magical summer days with family.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone - I hope you enjoy your celebrations!! Think of me when the fireworks start tonight and maybe if you close your eyes for that one second, I'll see what you're seeing in the sky. :)