Saturday, July 4, 2009
Flashback approximately 1990
Our family decided to go to Wisconsin for the fourth of July that year to visit my grandma, aunts and uncles. I was about 12, and the whole clan decided to brave the crowds downtown Milwaukee to see the big fireworks. There are 8 kids in my family, and with our cousins and everyone, we probably had 20 people. We carried our blankets, snacks and games to play until the fireworks actually began.
Somehow, amidst the group of our 20 family members, and the millions of strangers in Milwaukee, I suddenly found myself walking along the sidewalk alone. We were together a second ago, I turned around and thought I must have gotten ahead. Nope. Maybe I was behind, I looked ahead and saw millions and millions of people, but not my family.
I was so scared. I walked along that sidewalk scanning the crowds for what felt like an eternity. I was searching for a policeman too, but only saw strangers. It was horrifying. I prayed like I'd never prayed before. I wasn't even sure what I would tell a police officer, I knew my grandma's name, but not her address or phone number. I remember the smell too... beer.
I got really scared as it started to get darker. The firework show started and I still couldn't find ANYONE. I really don't know how long I was lost, but I imagine it was at least an hour or so. I cannot even begin to describe my feelings when as I walked, I FINALLY recognized my Mom. They were sitting right by the sidewalk. I probably passed them a dozen times without noticing. I sat down next to my mom and started bawling. She looked at me slightly puzzled and asked what was wrong. She had thought I had sat down by my sister, and hadn't realized I was missing yet. I remember the finale starting about that time.
I've never really fully gotten over my fear of crowds. I have a hard time going places that I am unfamiliar with, and am extremely paranoid of losing my kids.
The good news is that I still LOVE the fourth of July fireworks displays. I have NO desire to see them downtown Chicago, but the local ones are better anyway in my opinion. I'm hoping the weather holds out so we can go see some good ones tonight.
Happy Independence day everyone.