If you didn’t know – July 4th is one of my favorite holidays. As a child it meant packing up coolers, umbrellas, towels, toys and anything else that might make an entire day at the beach enjoyable and jumping into the back of a pick up truck with the wind tying my hair into knots, as I negotiated a comfortable spot to cradle my butt and stretch my legs. The chore of finding a unoccupied spot and unloading all the gear as fast as possible while the sand scalded my feet and then making a mad dash to the water, expecting to see steam rise as my body adjusted to cooler temperatures. I remember sitting in puddles, building sandcastles, being bullied by the current and pushed around by the ocean until the rash from my dollar store bathing suit rubbed me raw and caused me defeat. I didn’t care about food but sandwiches tasted a 1000 times better sitting on a brightly colored towel underneath the shade of umbrella. Water was fresher to the tongue which had been pleading for hydration as the saltwater overload began to mix in my veins, my legs taking on the look of scales, my feet disguised as fins. But the best part of the day, the part that sometimes I would miss because I passed out from exhaustion from running and laughing and picking my bathing suit out of my bum after I got tossed in the breakers- the best part of July 4th is the night. I love fireworks. Life is a firework show, there’s the beginning and then the ones you know and love, loud ones that rattle your windows and shake the ground, ones that sparkle, ones that don’t work and almost take a person out, ones you’ve never seen before- ever, and then when sometimes you feel like you’ve seen it all the finale takes the stage. The grand finale with so many fireworks going off that you can’t help but be overjoyed, yell, scream, holler, cheer and sometimes cry. It takes your feet off the ground and for a moment makes you feel like you can fly. And then it’s over- and all that’s left is smoke.