Summer time feels like it hits some sort of peak on Independence Day. It always has for me. "Summer" in and of itself feels completely centered somehow on this one day. In the small town where I grew up it was a big holiday. Big holiday. I'd call it the 3rd most important of the year (after Christmas and Thanksgiving). This designation is not terribly normal. My siblings and I all have struggled a bit as we've married to rectify the mistmatch in expectations between our ideas about the holiday and our new spouse's much more mainstream plans.
But, yes...The 4th has always been epically important.
Since it is my mental epicenter of summer, its hard to remember that sweet corn, peach canning, the first ripe garden tomato and the county fair are all still weeks away when the fireworks go off but, it still feels like the day when summer really is.
I have gobs of wonderfully rich 4th of July memories. My far away cousins all tended to congregate at my grandma's cabin on the shores of Lake Michigan right about then and good times came right along with them. There were: s'more roasts until the wee hours, beach bonfires ringed with flickering golden faces, knee slapping guitar session by the fireplace, sand dune rolling contests, long beach walks, sweet pea bouquet gatherings, sparkler swirling, all day bike rides down the shore, family picnics, countless parades and fireworks of epic beauty.
A has absorbed a tiny bit of my mad love for July 4th and I was suprised when he insisted that we attend a firework show this year even though we were spending the holiday with his family who tend to celebrate much more quietly at home. Its fun to be able to share your special something with your spouse and have them catch a little of the contagious joy that you feel for it.
I mostly am very happy to be a grown-up and don't pine for my childhood, although I had a perfectly acceptable one. I like living in the moment and mostly find that the now is generally happier and more exciting than "once upon a time." Ah yes, but... I do miss Indepence Days or more aptly put the Indepence Seasons of my childhood. I'm sure I'm lumping a whole slew of summer memories into one day and labelling it fondly in my mind. I wonder what my kids will look back on as the golden times for rythmns of family happiness. I know it won't be the same as it was for me. We have no beach where bonfires will happen, my sons have never even seen a bonfire. There aren't a lot of s'mores in our day to day experiences, they have no sand dunes for rolling on, there's no deck to spit their watermelon seeds from and firelit guitar singing doesn't happen in their world either. I have to remind myself that memory is ever vibrant and unique. There's no reason to mourn the loss of those things for my boys, they'll remember a whole slew of something elses with equal fondness. That's just the way it works.
So, here's to all the golden days that I look back on, a high five to all my wonderful cousins that I hardly ever see now that we're all grown-ups and a salute to the future and all the memories it holds that we could never ever guess.