This past 4th of July was an off day for me. For the most part, those "pity party days" are fairly few and far between, but they still come on...usually right out of nowhere.
We were glad to have gotten Ella Grace home from the hospital that Friday, and she was doing well. After Nana and I procured her 4th of July outfit, I was excited to take her to church and show her off that morning - a rare non-medical related outing. But just before it was time to leave Ella fell asleep and, still recovering from tracheitis, began to require oxygen so church was now out of the question and we stayed home all day.
At around 6 p.m. our night nurse arrived so John and I were able to leave the house which I was sure was going to make me feel better. At this point, I just wanted to see some dang fireworks!
Upon arriving at the park, I quickly realized this was not a good place for me to be in my funk. It was full of families with the children dressed up in their 4th of July outfits running around, looking cute, and having a blast. I managed to stop the tears with a rack of ribs, and made an effort to try and not focus on the fact that Ella Grace wasn't with us, but it wasn't easy.
After a few hours of rib-eating, sulking and people watching, dusk began to fall and it was finally time for fireworks. Since we had never been to see them at this park before, we didn't know what position we should be in. We picked up our chairs and began wandering around. We headed towards the crowd with the most people and stopped at a spot that happened to be vacant (coincidentally, right next to a trash can) and set up camp. Just then, a "warning shot" was launched and we realized that not only was our spot smelly, but our view was going to be blocked by a giant tree.
With the show now starting, we picked up our chairs and moved again to get a better view and found another spot that seemed to be suitable to settle in for the show. Once we sat down, we realized that our view was still being partially blocked by a smaller tree but we could see pretty well through the branches. With the crowd and the show now in full-swing, I told John we would just stay put when he started to get up to move again.
As I engaged in the fireworks through the limbs of the tree, my mind began racing with all kinds of thoughts: how happy I am to live in this country, how thankful I am to have John still sitting beside me, and how much Ella Grace would love the fireworks. There were times when the fireworks were launched high enough that the tree no longer blocked our view, and there were times when they weren't launched very high at all and we could hardly see them. But for the most part, they were launched somewhere in the middle and we still had a pretty good view. I even forgot that the branches were there at times.
I looked around at the other families who appeared to have a clear view and starting thinking to myself how this was a lot like being the parent of a special needs child. You still get to go to the fireworks, they are still spectacular, but your view is different. The experience was certainly not the same for me as the other moms there who were holding their children on their laps and able to see the awe on their little faces. Though my lap was empty, my heart was full. I told myself that next year Ella will be with us, she will be older and healthier and she'll have an EVEN cuter outfit!
Who knows if it will work out this way, our plans rarely do these days, but that's okay. Hope for the future and appreciation for the blessings we have today is what gets us through. While our view may not appear to be ideal to others, we are still glad to be at the show.