red, white & BLUE

I have been depressed on every 4th of July of my adult life. Independence Day in America is supposed to be outdoor fun with friends, BBQ’s, picnics, parades, water-skiing, camping, fireworks, whatever. And it used to be like that my whole childhood. But somewhere in my twenties, probably after I married an antisocial man, I stopped being invited to parties. I stopped hosting parties. Then I had kids and was fine staying home with them. It also seems like every July we were tight on money so we couldn’t really plan anything big or exciting for an Independence day celebration. But no matter how “ok”” I was with not having plans on July 3rd, by the next day I would feel so down and blue that we were the only ones not doing something fun. My husband and I would light off fireworks at home for our kids and/or take them to the city fireworks display in town. But always just us, never an extended group of friends or family. I missed being around a group.

A few years ago we were watching the local fireworks when tears started running down my cheeks. I was thinking of my Dad. My Dad loved fireworks! He loved the big booms. He would laugh and cheer. My dad died in 2007. That night that I was crying during the grand finale, I could hear his laughter in my mind and could picture what he would be saying if he was there. It was happy memories but made me miss him so much. I was so sad my kids never got to experience fireworks with my Dad. Every year since, I have that same feeling watching the fireworks.

This year I wasn’t going to be feeling sorry for myself. This year I booked something fun for us. We didn’t have any summer camp or child care costs this year and since we had a four day weekend, I booked us a vacation rental cabin in the mountains. We had a great relaxing family weekend. We were even able to meet up with friends for fun in the river. However, we did actually come home on the morning of the 4th since we had to work the next day. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, but all was mostly ok for the first time in a long time. And then it happened. I saw my picture posted on Facebook, for all to see: fat me in a swimsuit from a bad angle, Fat me’s leg cellulite, Fat me looking fatter than I’ve ever looked or felt before. And there it was; depression set in instantly. I was so down on myself the rest of the day, I didn’t even go watch the fireworks that night, just stayed inside comforting the dogs.

So I guess the moral of the story is, I am going to be blue on America’s carefree fun day, every year, no matter what I do. Maybe the sooner I accept it, the easier it will be. Maybe I’ll never again be part of a beach party at a lake house. Maybe I’ll never be surrounded by excitement again. Maybe that is just what happens with old age and a boring marriage. Maybe I’m not the only one with holiday plan envy. Shout out if you share in my mid-summer misery. At least we should feel better by next week.

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