Last night I heard the first of July fireworks through our bedroom window. I felt a little left out, like Cinderella leaving the ball early, losing her glass slipper in her hurry. It reminded me of all the Dominion Day celebrations of my childhood – of being left out. I was that child, face pressed against the window, outside looking in.
July 1st would find most everyone down at the Maidstone Sports Grounds. I never did know what the celebrations involved. If it was not a Sunday, our cafe was opened. Even if it was not, it was unlikely my father would take the family. My mother knew no English then. We were not part of the community socially. We had the cafe.
Isn’t it funny how these feelings of want linger on? They come out still, years down the road. That child in me has never gone away. It’s not that I don’t like special days or celebrations. I know I am suppose to but I never knew how. So I am uncomfortable with the unfamiliar.
Being immigrants, we did not celebrate the same occasions or in the same ways as everyone else in our small town of 600 people. We did not exchange presents at Christmas, but we did have a Charley Brown kind of tree one year. I thought that it was because we were poor. We did not have birthday parties nor presents. Instead, my mother made us a special treat for a meal. Christmases and birthdays enhanced my feeling of being left out and being different.
Being different is something I value now, but not then. The left out feelings are faded, though they still reared their ugly heads now and again. At least now I understand their source. I try to be a little kinder to that little immigrant child in me. I try not to blame my parents for any lack.
They did the best they knew how. We never went hungry. They gave us a good education. We grew up, became adults with successful careers and productive lives.
Now we do celebrate Christmases and birthdays with all the trimmings like everyone else. And I wish for simpler ways. How age change one’s perspective! Now that I can fulfill whatever want that I thought was missing, I have no want.