Updated: Jul 14, 2019
I'll never forget my first 4th of July as a parent, well, pregnant with Maxwell. We were living in a beautiful one-bedroom apartment that felt just like a home on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills and, being four months pregnant, all I wanted was a hot dog. Josh and I drove to five different grocery stores that afternoon, and were met with bare, empty shelves and refrigerators anywhere remotely near where hot dogs and buns would have been stocked.
That was not an amazing 4th of July.
This year, 15 years later, was.
We left New York City for the west coast - to the small, quaint town, halfway between Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, where Josh and I grew up together. Where the trucks are big, the supermarkets vast, the country roads both winding and long and fireworks are sold by every charitable organization around, all fund-raising for their good.
And hot dogs. Lots of hot dogs.
This small town celebrates the 4th of July with as much anticipation and enthusiasm today as it did when I was a little girl. There's a fun-run sponsored by the local police department in the morning - they call it "Run from the Cops." A festival takes places in the park with hay rides, a free pancake breakfast, contests, talent shows and historical military displays. The locals line the downtown streets to watch a pretty good-sized parade and in the evening there's a substantial fireworks show at the fairgrounds and a destruction derby.
This was the first year none of my family participated in any of it.
And we still had the best 4th of July, ever.
I even ran into Jim, our family friend, buying his watermelon that he's been bringing to my parents' party every 4th, for as long as I can remember.
It was a day of 18 boxes of rainbow sparklers, waterballoon launching, watergun fighting, visiting, laughing, posing for pictures, the quest for the perfect stick, reminiscing and celebrating. I hope you and your family had a beautiful 4th of July this year, too.