Twenty three years ago, beneath a sky filled with fireworks, I fell in love with the man who would someday become my husband. He was just a boy, and I was just a girl.
As we sat beneath the sky that night, the air filled with twinkling lights, two naive teenagers went from being merely interested in one another to something beyond that. Little did they know that this holiday would be one tied to so many moments of significance in their lives in the years that would follow.
We'd have a few more years before everything changed and college began, but even after it did, we'd always find our way back to one another, spend that night staring up at the sky together again.
For so many intervening years, it was one introduction after another to the lights in the sky as more children were added to our family. Juggling and wrangling, covering ears and whispering reassurances. We'd still stare up at that sky together, but it wasn't just us anymore.
Ten years ago on that very day, we packed up everything that we owned and drove away from all that we knew towards an uncertain future together far away. As we pulled into Las Vegas to stop for the night, the sky filled with fireworks.
Then the year came when everything changed again and the joy dimmed. The glowing embers in the sky were no longer annual reminders of what they once were, they became reminders of other things, of things that no one wanted to remember. Of things we wanted to push away and forget.
We tried as best we could to recapture some of the magic of this day, knowing that things would never be the same. And they wouldn't. They couldn't. We wouldn't want them to anyway.
The magic seemed to be gone forever, another casualty in the fight of our lives.
Until this year.
This year, the sky we sat beneath was one far away from home. The older children no longer needed cradling and reassurance, instead they needed space to run and play. They needed to be set free.
In between us this time beneath the sky, another child. A new one. One that neither of us had ever truly believed would exist, one that was never part of the plan. Then again, our plans always seemed to implode most magnificently, much like the glitter in the air does on this day.
This child who brings so much joy, he brought us one more chance to do it all again.
One last chance to introduce someone to the magic of this day, to find it again for ourselves.
As the sky darkened and the show began, this new child crawled up into my lap, rubbed his face into my shoulder and nuzzled up against me. Though he'd long since struggled to nurse with the presence of any distraction, though I'd been dealing with mastitis for days prior and nursing was excruciating, this night was different.
This night was special.
He eagerly nursed as his bright eyes stared up at the twinkling lights in the sky. He made his introductions with the magic of this day on his own terms, reached up a hand towards the air and waved at the sky, as tears I didn't bother trying to fight back fell from my eyes.
I didn't need to watch for myself, instead I watched him seeing it all for the first time.
Knowing that the magic was back in a way I never anticipated, I exhaled.
I reached beside me for the hand of the man that I love, the one I fell in love with on this day all those years ago, and I fell in love with this holiday all over again.
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