I don't come from hard knocks, but my parents did struggle to make ends meet. They come from a world that believes the conceiving of children is left to no one but God and any form of birth control is sacrilegious. I have five brothers and sisters and my childhood was chock-full of hand-me-down dresses, cheap cooking, and many games of ghost in the graveyard. The one thing that I felt my parents could always promise me was one helluva Fourth of July. I remember so many years of carnivals, glow-in-the-dark necklaces, Rainbow Brite balloons, and most of all, fireworks.
Akron does it big. Tens of thousands of people congregate to the closed off highways of downtown to spread their blankets on a grassy knoll and watch a musically synchronized, twenty minute display of big, colorful booms. The congested hike there and the obstacle of finding a place for your entire family to sit is a bit hectic, but once the arguments over which spot will be better are out of the way and everyone is settled into their chosen seat, things calm down and the fun can begin. I don't know that anyone soaks it all in as much as I do or that it means as much to anyone other than me but the minute the fireworks start I reach my greatest state of calm and can forget everything that has been nagging me. My mind shuts down to everything except how beautiful and meaningful this precise moment in time is. I remember the previous twenty odd years that my parents have brought me to this exact spot and how happy it has always made me to feel as one with everyone else in the city.
This year was no different. The colors, shapes, and sizes were all beautiful. The location was amazing and I had the added benefit of having my husband at my side. Three years ago he and I missed the fireworks display because we were running around taking care of any last minute details for our wedding on July 5th. We saw a few of the big ones from I-77 while on our way to drop me off at my parents house to sleep for the night.
Tonight, during the display, Jon tapped me on the shoulder and said, "You know, it's pretty cool how, every year, we get fireworks on the night before our anniversary."
I smiled a crooked grin at him and said, "Yeah, I planned it that way."