For me, my birthday has always been irrevocably tied to the 4th of July. The last 3 years though have been different, and I've struggled to find a way to make it match what is my life now. Yes, I was in the states the last 2 years for it, but there was a piece of me here in Mexico. This year has to be the hardest, and even I'm not sure why.
A friend of mine posted a video of fireworks set to the star spangled banner. I had to watch it, my only glimpse of home, of a birthday I remember. I ended up breaking down into tears while I played and my husband held me, trying to keep me together when I felt like I was in pieces. Apologizing, as though it was his fault. That only made me cry harder. It was never his fault. I went into this with my eyes fully open, knowing all the sacrifices. I love my country, I will always love my country. I am thankful daily for those who serve to keep it safe. For those who stay at home and rush into the fires and bullets to protect it's citizens. It's government? That's another story. But, I love the USA. However, I love my husband more than words can say. He and my children are my world.
As the video ended, my husband (still trying to help me find my way out of my tears) asked me to tell him a story. A story of birthdays and Independence Day's past. Stories, really. Of driving red firetrucks with wagons tied to it through the crowds for Red, White, and BOOM!. Stories of birthday cakes in red, white, and blue. So I talked. And I talked some more. And then I kept on talking, and started smiling at the memories. Then I got to the story of the firework chasing my cousin down the street. As I told the story, we laughed together, and cried from happiness and good memories.
We made a plan for the future. To go to Columbus, to see Red, White, and BOOM! once more. One day, even if it's 10 years more down the road (please, not that long). But I realized something, I have what I need. And maybe our new tradition will be to tell stories of the past, and laugh instead of crying. To look towards the day when we can have that again.
For now, I'll wish the USA a happy birthday from here, fly her flag proudly where my husband hung it for all to see, and blow out the candles for both of us.