Dear Carter,
Today is July 4th. Today is America’s birthday. Today you would have been 5 months old. Today I was supposed to be taking your monthly pictures and marveling at how much you grew. Today we were supposed to venture downtown to our special spot to watch the fireworks and then go home and watch Daddy and the big kids put on our own family fireworks show. Today feels incomplete because you’re not here.

Let me share a 4th of July memory with you.

The very best fireworks show I ever watched was in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., on July 4, 2000. I just graduated from high school and was on a church choir trip. We took our bus to the Mall (the huge area of grass that many of the historic landmarks of the city border) and found a spot on the hillside near the Washington Monument. I can still feel the grass tickling my skin, can still picture how the giant monument rose up against the dark sky while we waited for the show to start, anticipation building and building as I chattered with my high school friends in the warm July night.

Most of the other fireworks I’ve seen last about 30 minutes. Maybe a local radio station is playing “Proud to be an American” during the grand finale. Maybe there’s several of my favorite ones that explode and then kind of drift down slowly in a shower of sparkles.

But THESE fireworks, designed to celebrate not only our nation’s day of independence but also the new millennium, were far beyond any show I had seen before or have seen since. The whole show seemed like the grand finale of what I was used to. It lasted for at least an hour. Patriotic music was synchronized perfectly to the entire display. I lay there on my back in awestruck wonder of the beautiful lights that seemed close enough to touch. It was completely magical. For that hour, it seemed like I was in another world where everything was sparkly and bright and happy and perfect. Then it was over and the whole experience was relegated to my memory, where I keep it safe and bring it out whenever I need a happy thought.

You, love, are like that year 2000 fireworks show times infinity. I eagerly anticipated your arrival, imagining and dreaming of what you’d be like. Trying to picture how you would look but knowing that my mind’s eye wouldn’t do you a shred of justice. Knowing you would be beautiful, but not knowing just how you’d take my breath away. And then you came, exploding into the world in a burst of drama and energy. I was immediately awestruck, mesmerized by your face, smitten with the feel of you, wide eyed at the miracle of you. You shone so brightly. You sparkled so twinkly. You made me so happy. I couldn’t get enough of you. Having you was like watching the best fireworks all day, every day for 111 days. Magical. A new world of colors and lights I never wanted to leave, couldn’t wait to explore forever.

And then it was over. The sparkles faded. The music stopped. The joy now but a treasured memory. A rude teleportation back to just how everything used to be. It wasn’t enough time. It wasn’t enough light. It wasn’t enough happiness. It wasn’t enough anything. I miss you desperately, sweet baby. My sparkly, bright boy.

I’ll be thinking of you tonight as I look up at the stars and explosions of color, imagining you on the other side of them, watching me sit on the seawall and swing my feet over the water. I’ll send you all my love, wrapped up in all the best fireworks…the ones that explode and drift down in a shower of sparkles.

There’s a song called “Firework” by Katy Perry that inspires the rest of us to live like you did, shining brightly and bringing color to the world around us. The bridge and chorus go like this:

You  just gotta ignite the light and let it shine, just own the night like the fourth of July. Baby, you’re a firework, come on show ’em what you’re worth. Make ’em say ah, ah, ah as you shoot across the sky. Baby you’re a firework, come on let your colors burst. Make ’em go oh, oh, oh, you’re gonna leave ’em fallin’ down, down, down.

Happy 4th of July and happy 5 month old birthday, son of my heart.

I kiss you.

Love you forever,


One thought on “Fireworks

  1. Katie, I am as usual, speechless after reading your blog. And I feel an almost desperate to share it with all who are hurting, who’s y’all d wherever they may be. I believe sweet girl that as you write and pour out your heart to your beautiful and beloved son, you are also healing and you are touching a chord in all of us. I’m not very good at explaining what’s in my heart but I hope you understand. I have spent so little time with you and yet we share a connection of love through your sweet father and grandparents. I love you so and you are in my heart

    Liked by 1 person

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