July 4th is a bittersweet day at my house. As most of you know, my grandfather passed away in 2002. July 4th is his birthday. It's been almost four years since he passed away, I don't go to his gravesite as much anymore, I don't cry as much. I still think of him all the time, and there are reminders of him everywhere. His desk in our living room, this picture on a table, his class ring in my jewelry box.
Our family hasn't been the same since he and my grandmother died. We used to get together weekly, but now it's every few months. We keep in touch, but we don't see each other as much. Kevin's kids are 15, 11, and 8. Which makes me feel really old. Kevin is my cousin, but we grew up in my grandparents' house...much like a brother and sister. His kids are at that age where they're steeped in activities--Magan playing sports, Miranda playing all the sports Magan plays, and Mikel is driving (horror of horrors!).
Today was one of the best days we've all had in a very long time. Everyone was in a good mood, plenty to talk about, to laugh about. For some reason, this year, Miranda (the youngest) has been really excited that the 4th was my grandpa's birthday. It's in her mind moreso this year than before. When they arrived, Mom said something about our meal of bbq being a tribute to "Dadoo" since it's what he always cooked for our 4th of July celebrations. Miranda was sitting in the living room, kneeling by the coffee table, almost ready to dig into her bbq sandwich when Mom made this declaration.
She was quiet, a little timid, which she never is. And she looked up and said, "Thank you." A thank you for our celebration of not only the 4th of July, but all that it's represented for our family in the past. For the celebration of my grandfather. I'm so glad they can remember my grandparents. Especially Miranda, as she's the youngest and was only four when they passed.
At that moment, I felt like he was in the room. And it wasn't sad, and it wasn't mournful. It was a warmth in our house again.
We can finally celebrate.