Happy 4th of July to everyone.
It is a bit difficult for me, this weekend. I have such wonderful memories of the traditions that we have developed as a family, and treasured, as the children were growing up. This year, we have no "children;" instead, we have a delightful teenager. He is a joy, but he is no longer a little guy with a little sister.
In the past, we would have gone to Auntie Bernice's house on the 3rd of July, to have a buffet with aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, and to watch the Poulsbo fireworks over Liberty Bay. We did it last year, as Katie was struggling with increasing back pain, but was still glad to be with family and friends. Or we might gather at our house, and build a beach fire, as in these photos from 2006.
So many things have changed. Auntie Bernice passed away last year (shortly before Katie did), and her house is now being rented. We went over there last week to bring dinner to cousins Kim, Paul and Kristin while they were cleaning and preparing the house for the renters...so we were not able to gather there with family and friends for this year's 3rd of July festivities.
On the 4th of July, we used to go to Bainbridge Island for the "Grand Old Fourth" celebrations, including a parade, walking through town, seeing friends and "being seen," visiting, buying and eating "fair" food from the booths that line the street (sno cones, cotton candy, hot dogs, smoothies), admiring crafts and toys, paying at a booth so that the kids could "dunk" the waterpolo team, watching the kids go on the rides, and then coming home for fireworks at Grandma and Kappa's or at Maribeth and Alan's. Last year, David and Gregg set off the fireworks, as Katie was resting on the couch indoors. She just didn't feel well enough to participate. It is a very sad memory for me, but I can't help remembering it.
Last night, we had barbecued salmon & homegrown salad & strawberries at Grandma and Kappa's, and David and Gregg set off the fireworks that they had bought. It was fun to sit on the deck and watch David's enjoyment, as he set them off from the bulkhead or the dock, and ran back to watch them explode in the sky. It felt a bit empty, at the same time. Katie isn't here, and she should be here. I miss her. She has left a huge hole in our lives.
Today, we are skipping the fun on the Island, and I am ambivalent about missing it. I think it would be too sad to try it, and the boys don't want to go there. Tonight, we will gather with Grandma and Kappa, and with friends; we will have fun together, and be thankful for what we have. But Katie will still be somewhere else. I can't hug her or hold her or kiss her; I can't share her joy in the family holiday that this is supposed to be. I will do the best I can to not be a "downer." But today, it is hard.
I hope that you will hug and kiss those you love, tell them that you love them...and have a happy holiday with them.