In my early twenties, during one of the many the Fourth of Julys spent in Newport Beach, we found out that sparklers were considered fireworks and were illegal. My good friend, Jandy (combo name of mother Jan and dad Andy), was hanging out with a sparkler in her hand when she turned around to wish a police officer a Happy July 4th. Not only was the police officer unamused, but he immediately issued her a $200 violation ticket. Yowza, that’s a lot of money! Can you imagine how much money that was for a twenty year old circa 1993? Ever since then, I have had a fear of getting a ticket for lighting up a sparkler.
Where I live these days, sparklers are sold everywhere because they are legal in the state of Minnesota. Anything that flies or explodes is considered illegal which means sparklers make the cut. So even though Fourth of July is not really a holiday that many people would give away thoughtful pinches, I like to give boxes of sparklers to those who make me “sparkle”. This year, Kris, my nail technician, Cybele, my hair stylist, Kristin, my esthetician and Jen, my interior designer, all received a box of sparklers and a flag tied up with a bow. I also wanted to be thoughtful of those who “spark” the talents of our kids so hockey coach Tony and Ms.Ruth, our piano teacher, each received a box. Finally, those who keep our home safe, happy and sparkly - Kim, our postal server, Todd, the handyman, and the neighbors who keep watch over our home while we are on vacation received boxes of sparklers too. A pinch of thoughtfulness.
For all those who live in an area that does not allow sparklers - Target was spot on with their red, white and blue merchandise this year and was very reasonably priced. I was able to grab a few items to give to the family for some added sparkle plus we could decorate the home for a little shine too. Again, Fourth of July is not the top holiday to give away thoughtful pinches which makes it even better because no one expects it and there is no pressure to give.
I wasn’t really into sparkly stuff before but then I had my daughter and was quickly converted. She has worn sparkly clothes since she was two (and still does). Also, because of her, I became a fan of the Vikings cheerleaders’ ability to bedazzle any item that has a surface. Speaking of sparkly and daughters, I have recently learned about a different kind of “sparkle”. I have two girlfriends who are in the process of separating from their husbands. Both of these women are the out-going, bubbly, life of the party type of woman. Their husbands are quiet, reserved and socially awkward. If you ask my girlfriends why they are making the move to separate, besides the usual issues that are discovered in most divorces, both of these women have felt that they have lost their sparkle - that they are not able to shine if they stay in their marriage. Coincidentally, both of these girlfriends have daughters. Even though I am a “save your marriage no matter what” type of person, I have to agree with their decision to leave their husbands in order for them to shine. Whether we signed up for it or not, mothers are given the responsibility to be the example for their daughters. So if it makes more sense to leave rather than to stay, then I can see why it was time to go. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not advocating that everyone should throw in the towel and pursue happiness at all costs. For these particular friends of mine, they need to shine. It’s like a caged tiger needing to be out in the wild. This is vastly different from my in-laws, who will celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary this month. They are the kind of couple in which one person is not more sparkly than the other. Instead, it is BECAUSE they are a couple, that they are both able to shine. My in-laws are such great role models that the hub and I always celebrate our wedding anniversaries together. It’s been good luck for us so far.
If I could, I would light up a sparkler to celebrate the Fourth of July this year. It’s such a thrill to hold a stick with flames and sparks safely burning bright. Sure a sparkler is a little on the childish side but I like to imagine it to be a fairy wand or better yet, a Harry Potter wand. Unfortunately, fireworks were not allowed on the plane and I didn’t feel like spending time with TSA or paying a fine if I got caught. So maybe I’ll just celebrate with a lot of sparkling wine instead. Happy Birthday America!