the fourth of july. today, i miss you.

When I was young

when my brothers and I lived in the same place

when my parents were married

to eachother

and when I didn’t eat chicken yet

our neighborhood would have a huge celebration in the park and we would all decorate our bikes, parade them down the street, and await the announcing of the awards while begging our parents for tickets for watermelon and cotton candy.

And then my family would watch the fireworks at night from Iwo Jima memorial in Arlington. We would spread out a blanket and bring cards or toys or frisbees to occupy the time. We were allowed to eat KFC because it was a special occasion — but only on the 4th of July. I only ate the fried chicken skin, because I hadn’t added poultry to my repertoire yet. And my brothers were sometimes nice and would share theirs with me. When the ice cream trucks would ring their bells, we would beg and plead, but my dad always said, “no, you just had dinner.” Which logic eludes me even to this day.

But dads are supposed to say no. And moms are supposed to say yes. And brothers are supposed to tease their sister. And fireworks in Washington, DC are supposed to be the best. And all of that was true once upon a time. A time before children move away, parents divorce and a girl grows up and like all the other grown-up girls, shuns fried chicken skin because it’s important to be body-loathing.

But I remember.



Filed under family, food, friends, photos

5 responses to “the fourth of july. today, i miss you.

  1. Happy 4th! DC Fireworks are the best, my sister’s apartment in Georgetown has a view over the Washington monument and we used to do a “simulcast” by watching the fireworks out the window while having the TV on too, to add the soundtrack (and double the fireworks views!) Are you going to any of the celebrations for expats? I can’t because I’m packing to travel again… are you around the weekend of the 19th or off on one of your awesome adventures?

  2. mira

    I remember too. I remember.

  3. onegulpstories

    I’m so glad you’re an expatriate and not an ex-patriot. Sending you some virtual apple pie and fireworks from across the water. Happy 4th!

  4. I really enjoyed this. Beautifully written. By the way, we weren’t allowed to have ice cream after dinner either. Looking back, I think it’s because the truck driver was a perv….

  5. Boy, do I understand what you mean…

    Well said, and very touching for another 4th of July fan living over seas….


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