Sunday, July 11, 2010

the fireworks

Today was the parade, very warm afternoon, candy thrown, snacks eaten, frisbee, fun, a few hugs from very hot, sticky b.g., and one from his dad.

The neighbors next door freaked out when the Democratic candidate went by, yelled and called her a communist.


That was unexpected and uncalled for. She used to teach high school, and I had her as a teacher. She's a first rate person, phenomenal. She degrees in numerous areas of study from public policy to Latin and Greek, is a Harvard graduate, plus she is incredibly kind. Even if they disagree with her politics, no need to treat her like that. (She serves on a very important, but very dull revenue committee, has for many years.)

The people behind her in the parade were a raunchy rock radio station who scolded the neighbors, "This is not the time or place for this."

ANYWAY, other than that awkward moment, it was all good.

We made it to the fireworks, though it took three cars to get us all there. (Little Jay had some friends along, and Heidi came too. Kirsten and her friends walked, so they didn't have to fit in any cars.)

And my hibiscus bloomed today. I'm not going to lie. This has been a difficult week for a few reasons--one predictable, but still hard to manage in terms of uncertainty and stress. The other was a little unexpected, but nothing needs to be done about it, and here we are.

So today, when I went running out the door and saw this huge bright blossom on this brambly hibiscus we've had for a dozen years, it caught me by surprise. I stopped and tilted it up for a minute to enjoy the vibrant color, and accepted it as a blessing for today--God throwing me a much-needed biscuit.

Wishing the same tonight for you. love, Val

This was written three years ago--July 2007. For better or worse, not much has changed. I'm glad it's now.

We went to the fireworks tonight, like we do mid-July every year. Lori used to have us for supper and then we’d head down the hill from her house, following the little rut of a trail to the boulevard between the street and parking lot at the mall, sit on blankets together and watch fireworks. We’d apply bug spray and there was bickering and also laughing. So now we go to remember her. Plus these are quite awesome fireworks.

Today though I’ve been so down, introspective, anxious. I always get anxious when money is tight, yet we’re sure been in worse spots than this. This is seriously not a big deal. Customers will pay. We’ll pay our bills. It’s business as usual, so why it’s stressing me out, I don’t know.

I suppose because two are tax bills and taxes always freak me out. You know they can FINE you and torture you and what-all I don’t even know. So far, in all these years, it has not happened. But it could. No, it isn’t. But it could. I told my brain to shut up, but I still felt a little short of breath.

We spread out blankets on the hard lumpy boulevard grass in front of the Chinese restaurant tonight. We found this spot the year after Lori died. Other people lived in her house; we had nowhere to go, so we improvised. But it’s a great viewing spot. We had our 8 youngest kids with us tonight, the little ones in pjs, and they were laughing and taking goofy pictures with a digital camera while we waited. Inside the Chinese restaurant, yellow lighting glowed against red satin wallpaper and dark laminate tables.

As the fireworks began, colors lighting the sky, loud pops and bangs, smoke illuminated from all angles in flashes, I thought, “Lori, Lori, Lori, Lori. How could you leave me?” Then I thought, well it wasn’t as if she had a choice. She didn’t want to either. Then it was just, “I miss you so much,” that old kick in the chest, and the kids and flowered pajamas, fireworks, colors all blurred together in the dark.

Then a baby appeared at my elbow, a little guy about a year and a half old, wispy hair, round belly. He recognized kids—they always recognize their own kind—and came to sit with us. In a minute, his socially appropriate parents tried to drag him off, “Come sit with Mommy.” I could hear him angrily fussing at them, and when I looked he was arching his back while they tried to distract him. I told them we did not mind if he sat with us. We like friends. So they left him go, and he ran to sit close beside Julia and me. I touched his hair, rubbed his tiny back.

His parents crouched next to us commenting on the fireworks, did he see them? He didn’t; he was looking from one kid to the next with a grin on his face. Lori loved babies as much as I do, and this guy with his handsome Hispanic dad and cute biker mom, was quite adorable. It turns out the baby’s name was Timothy Dean, and I introduced him to our own Timothy Dennis, who was quite pleased to meet him. It all felt like a hug on a beautiful summer night.

No conclusions to be drawn, nothing. When the fireworks ended, we waved good-bye to sweet Timothy Dean and his parents, folded up our blankets and headed home for bed—the end of July 15, 2007.

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