Only in Long Beach do you get Mimosas out of a Styrofoam cup for brunch. But hey, they made up for the lack of glasses by giving us triple mimosas… and after that, everything seemed a bit better for the moment. The better was certainly enhanced by these roller skating girls, which, I am going to say, you also only find in Long Beach!
After brunch at Chucks in Belmont Shore, we went for a short walk to the pier. They had a little 4th of July celebration with a few vendors. Kettlecorn, hot dogs, all the good old American stuff. It was a surprise to see my friend Valerie there, who, in good Independence Day spirit, had a booth selling red, white and blue paraphernalia.
After that, and after the triple mimosa wore off, my Independence Day was just another day. I even worked for 3 hours because I had a deadline to meet. These days, the 4th of July is just a painful reminder of what I did to my life. During my walk by the beach, I saw happy families, happy couples, daughters with their moms. And I was painfully reminded that I have none of those.
Independence Day is a family holiday, so everyone celebrates with their families. The family I once had here had a big celebration. My son was there, too. I wasn’t invited. I am no longer family and there wasn’t room for one more person. I also can’t celebrate with my friends, because my friends are moms and they are married, and they spent the day with their own families. I can’t spend the day with my parents either, because they’re on the other side of the world. So I am a mom without a family and a single person without single friends. That left me with my former boyfriend-turned roommate, who spent the entire afternoon watching The Killing. Happy 4th of July.
What If The Flag Hadn’t Still Been There?
So when a day like this comes along, there are a lot of what if’s. What if I had never moved here? What if I had finished school before getting pregnant? What if I had learned to be happy right where I was? What if I had thought of my family before thinking of my career? What if the flag hadn’t still been there?
The irony is that the day that reminds me so painfully of the fact that I no longer have a family, is celebrated because of the country that caused me to lose my family. Now granted, it is not America’s fault per se. But I would bet my life that had we remained in Germany, had we raised Christopher there, we would have never gotten divorced and everything would be alright. So it’s hard for me to be patriotic on a day that brings me nothing but pain.
How did I deal with it? I insisted on bbqing. Made a salad and we ate outside. It smelled wonderfully like BBQ. I love the smell; it reminds me of home. (I come from a state that should have a BBQ on their flag.) And then we went to watch the fireworks over the Queen Mary back at the pier. There was no spirit in the day. Celebrating Independence Day without someone around who likes to celebrate with you is the most depressing way to spend any holiday.
So the one way I found to deal with it, with the pain, always and not just today, is by trusting God and that everything works out for the best. It is really hard to see that, especially on this kind of day. Psalm 37,4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I know that’s what the fathers of this country did. So today would be a good day, I suppose, to believe that as well.