Posted by: Laura A. H. Elliott | July 4, 2010

Answer: Fourth of July story

Some Fourth of July’s are more memorable than others. And as it’s harder and harder for us to even find a fireworks display in these lean years, I appreciate more and more the ones with truly great fireworks shows. But there’s always something more than the great fire in the sky that makes those nights memorable. Always something unexpected that happened. And it was on one such Fourth of July that I set out with my newborn daughter for the very first time after we came home from the hospital, along with my entire family.

We all piled into the car with lawn chairs and diapers and drove down our newly poured driveway, technically permitted as a sidewalk it was so steep. The technological marvel enabled me to make the trip out as we had one hundred steps to our front door and which, pre-driveway and after my first C-Section, landed me in the house for two solid months before I was physically up to the daily challenge of the descent and ascent.

So the freedom of the drive was excitement enough. But it was the venue too that made the evening even that much sweeter. We drove to my school, The Art Center College of Design, in the foothills surrounding The Rose Bowl. There was a small group of teachers and students gathered there in what used to be a sculpture park and is now the General Motors Computer Lab. We set out our chairs and I had one daughter running around the sculptures and the other in my arms. And I’ll never forget Joe, the shop guy, melting at the sight of my baby. He was a task master at school. The one who eyed the craftsmanship of the models we would create of the products we designed in the Industrial Design program, but a big softie in front of babies. I’d never seen him smile like that.

I’d left school to have another baby because that was the most important thing to me. And everyone at school was so supportive. In the twilight I caught up with my friends on how life was in their fifth term and how mine was in the early days of being a mother of two. Then the show began. One after another the rockets flared and the music played and it was pure magic sitting there, watching fireworks shoot from the Rose Bowl and explode at our level in the foothills. My mom was there too which was an extra special treat, since she’d come all the way from Chicago to help with the baby.

And with my baby in my arms and in the rockets red glare, sitting next to my former classmates and around a few of my teachers so many emotions exploded inside of me. Yes, this wasn’t the typical way a woman goes through college, but it was my way. And it felt so right.

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