Today is Independence Day. The day to celebrate the birth of a nation? The day to commemorate the people in the 1770's who decided to rebel and break away from England? The day to take a day off work to relax, barbecue and watch fireworks? Whatever this day means to you, today has a very different meaning, and feeling, for me.
As a kid, I didn't really think about what this day meant. To me, it was a holiday. We would go to my Grandma's and Grandpa's house for a cookout that included hot dogs, hamburgers and booyah (a regional dish that I expect none who are reading to know what it is). There were also fireworks at the Packer stadium that my mom would take us to every year. Eventually, my grandparents bought a cottage on a small lake and the cookout moved up there. My aunt would buy fireworks from out of state, bring them all up to the lake and she would shoot them off my grandparents' dock. Others around the lake would do the same thing, and since the lake was small, it felt like our own private fireworks show. For me, it was fun...the 4th of July was fun. Now, it's different.
In 2009, we were pregnant with Oscar and Bella. Jon and I were up at my mom's and step-dad's cottage (on the same lake) and I remember sitting in the dark, in a lawn chair, watching the fireworks, thinking, "I wonder if they are hearing the fireworks. I wonder what they'll think next year when they're up here...they probably won't care as they'll be around 7 months old and I'll be in the cottage with them. I better enjoy this show because I won't get to see next year's." 26 days later, Oscar and Bella were born and died. I don't know why, maybe because Jon and I were relaxing at the lake taking the opportunity to be just the two of us before we brought twins home, but July 4th is now a bittersweet holiday for me.
In 2010, we were pregnant with Gus, right around 32w. Jon told me very early that he would not be comfortable traveling up to the cottage for July 4th, but I NEEDED to see fireworks. I needed to have that experience of being pregnant and watching fireworks again. I needed our rainbow to have a similar experience with me that Oscar and Bella had. So, Jon found a fireworks show closer to our house, we met a friend there, and I got to feel Gus kick as the loudest fireworks went boom. I missed our kids, but was glad that I could have a common experience between them. Four days later, I was admitted to the hospital for pre-term contractions.
The next few years were back to the cottage. It was nice to be able to be back there, knowing that I had Gus there, in the same place that Oscar and Bella got to experience their only fireworks. I was excited for Gus to see the fireworks and have fun up at the cottage, similar to how I had fun when I was a kid.
This year, there will be no cottage trip for us. It's an over 7 hour drive, without stops, from where we live now to the cottage. Jon is trying to save his vacation time for when Lucy's here, so we'll stay at home. Apparently there is a big parade (100 units) that will be held this evening downtown, and fireworks begin at 10pm.
This will be Lucy's first fireworks, and I hope not the last, but there will always be the kids I'm missing that started this whole July 4th trend: Oscar and Bella. Of course I miss all my kids that aren't here, but this is also their birth month. 5 years this year. In a new place, without the memorial things that we've done in the past, needing to start new traditions...and turning 29w with Lucy on their birthday. I'm trying to think of this as a good thing, that it's Oscar's and Bella's way of having a connection to their youngest sister...but it's still hard...this whole month is hard.