Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Fourth

“And a lovely day was had by all.”

We spent the morning in a parade, walking around our neighborhood with all the other parents, waving to neighbors I only see this one day of the year, walking behind dog-walkers, stroller-sitters, and bike riders. We do this every year and the number of participants changes as the neighborhood changes what with kids getting older and sleeping in (like J), older people moving away to smaller places and beyond, young families moving in and having kids. A rode his bike and M decided for kicks to have D push her in our old jogger (a stroller of a sort) which didn't last because her shoes touched the front tire and she decided all on her own that she was too big. She pushed the stroller for the second half and from down the block I saw still how little she is in that I couldn't see her above the handlebar, just shoes, just hands curving over the black. At the end we had popsicles and chatted, breaking up by ten, when the sun started to move to the center of the sky.

I made breakfast (hard-boiled eggs and tomato salad) and then M and I went to the community pool, where we spent the next 3 or so hours playing in an imaginary world. There, we had a house on the pool steps and lived in a neighborhood in a city like the one we live in and made water-cakes, picked out water-library books, floating all over the edges of our Atlantis in our make-believe car (an orange noodle we both held fast to). M sang a song for me (such a long, sweet song the notes of which bounced the edges of the pool, staying with me, even now) and I told her stories about being in a forest with a lot of trees and bugs (“Nice bugs”). We took a cake to an under-the-water Mrs. Hockensox in the deep end and bought shiny purses at a watery boutique in the shallow end. I confounded M’s language abilities much to her delight by telling her about the car manufacturer and the oil refinery for gasoline in our blue city. We played, interrupted only by D bringing us sandwiches and Cheetos for lunch. By the late afternoon, when the pool began to get too busy, we left, cheeks and shoulders pinked, tired, wet, and happy.

The boys joined us, noisily for a short while, in between their hours with their friends.

The night was spent (after a requisite BBQ on our old charcoal kettle grill) watching fireworks from the bleachers at a nearby high school. We bought smoothies from Uncle B who managed to work the concession stand in spite of ill health. Then the show. In those brilliant bursts, I was reminded of so many other hot summers. 1976 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl for the only formal show my family ever attended. 1997 with my newborn, A, being rocked by my mother inside her townhouse while the rest of us lit firecrackers outside on the street, my brother B burning his fingers after warning my little J to always “play safely and sanely.” We really, really laughed at that. Many, many childhood summers with an aunt who no longer wants to have anything to do with me or my sister for reasons I no longer understand. A summer on the beach with a lover during my law school years that made me think marriage was something possible. 2004 in Washington D.C. with my son J, a wonderful, exciting two weeks where I said goodbye to J as a little boy and welcomed him as a preteen. As those silly explosions of light colored the night sky and M screamed in innocent, pure delight, I found myself weeping a little with both joy and melancholy.

I saw an interesting movie today, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” which so cleverly told me to “enjoy the little moments of love.”


Lori said...

Aww. As usual, a beautifully written piece. Glad you had a good holiday. :)

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

"I don’t know this person’s history, this loved one’s past – I don’t know the details, the technicalities. I haven’t learned everything there is to know and because of that I will never be able to pass on to my children their own history."

You're passing it on beautifully here. As a parent, I was moved by these scenes of M and J.

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Sounds like a lovely day, and you write about it so beautifully too.

My son LOVES that Eternal Sunshine movie. I still do not really get it. But we saw a movie in Spanish, the Seainside and it is beautiful and evocative.

Fromage de Merde said...

You know? I’d give good money to play in an imaginary world for even 10 minutes let alone 3 hours or so!

Truly Bliss!

Adriana Bliss said...

Thank you, Lori...it was lovely indeed!

Richard, thank you for the assurance. Much needed. :)

Barbara, Eternal Sunshine is no doubt weird, but I took from it a message of enjoying TODAY without worrying about tomorrow, that memory is as important as the thing itself. A simple idea presented in such a unique and dreamy way!

LOL Fromage - you definitely have a point there. I only wish I could do it more easily. How unfortunate to be all grown up where make-believe is as beyond us as other lost dreams.

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