Everyone has a holiday that raises their spirits. Mine has always been the 4th of July. I love the sparklers, the parades, the patriotism, the hot weather and the food. In our family my mother always made red eggs on the 4th of July. Red eggs are pickled eggs. I remember eating them as a little girl, salting the yolk before each bite.
The year I was pregnant with
Margaret, my husband, Glenn, and I drove from our home in Pittsburgh to meet my
parents at a hotel in Chambersburg to celebrate July 4th. Living far from family with two young children
and another on the way, we missed my parents a great deal so we were thrilled
to be spending time with them.
When we arrived, we swam in the
pool. Afterwards one and a half-year-old Martin napped, while almost three-year-old
Elizabeth sat in a wet suit under blankets in my parent’s hotel room watching the
original black and white Batman for the first time. As evening came we went out to the picnic
table and enjoyed potato salad, red eggs, burgers, and a cake topped with strawberries,
blueberries and whip cream. The pictures from that day are some of our smiliest
ones for we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of baby # 3.
But over a month later on August
12th, 1997, I stopped feeling my baby move. On August 13, Margaret
was stillborn and my love of that 4th
of July memory was clouded over. The joy from that day was sucked into a time
capsule, unreachable for a long time, and for several years the 4th
of July made me think of that day. It brought sadness to my heart to think such
a happy memory had turned into heartbreak.
Now on every 4th of July I still
think of Margaret, but time and much grief work has helped me to take that
memory back out of the time capsule and remember the feeling of joy again.
Since my only memory of Margaret is holding her small body after she was born,
I now count that 4th of July memory as another one of my memories
with her: A first and last 4th of July with her older siblings. And-slowly,
over time, small but significant other pieces of that memory have come back to
me. On that day I wore a floral, black
maternity bathing suit and I remember feeling Margaret move more than once
while I swam with Martin. On that day I blew bubbles with Elizabeth and I watched
Glenn roll down the hill with the kids.
They all giggled at the bottom as they brushed the fresh cut grass out of
their hair and then we lit sparklers and danced around under the star-filled
This year on the 4th
of July cousins arrived in piles and swam in the bay and screeched and
splashed. Winnie and I made a new black bean, avocado and fresh corn salad and
we ate hamburgers and vegan cupcakes and, of course, we ate red eggs. Red eggs will forever remind me of my
grandmother, Maggie, and my daughter, Margaret, who was named after Maggie, and
that brings me quite a happy feeling.
is Margaret’s 19th birthday. We will wake at 5:00 am and watch the sun rise
while sipping warm tea and eating buttered croissants on the beach in her
honor. We will buy sunflowers like we
always do and loving thoughts of her will be our sunshine for the day. And at night we will blow birthday kisses to
the stars. Happy 19th birthday,