My Star-Spangled Girl

Every birthday is a star-spangled one for my 4th of July
Every birthday is a star-spangled one for my 4th of July

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

July 2nd dawned as sultry as could be.  At 3:30 p.m., the obstetrician informed me, “She hasn’t dropped yet.” I was nine months pregnant, as uncomfortable as could be, and the baby was kicking non-stop like a soccer player at the World Cup. My husband and I had already separated [he had moved back to Greece before we knew I was with child]. The July heat and humidity bore down relentlessly and I felt like a wet mop.

Resigned to another sleepless night, I placed the ingredients for pesto in the Cuisinart, and waited for the linguine to boil. I decided to make the best of it and watch a movie as I poured myself an herbal iced tea.  I longed for a glass of crisp Pinot Grigio, but once I learned I was expecting, I eliminated coffee and my evening glass of vino from my menu.

At 10:30 p.m. on that July 2nd, I decided to give sleep a chance.  It was not to be, for I was rushed to the hospital shortly thereafter. Anjelica decided to “enter the light” as the Italians say, at 6:30 a.m. on the 4th of July. All the pre-natal vitamins I had taken daily, all the cream of wheat and oatmeal I had ingested paid off:  Anjelica was pink and perfect with a mass of black hair.  She was a beauty from the start and still is, if I may say.

That night, from the large picture window in our maternity ward room, we watched the 4th of July fireworks on the river.  At least I enjoyed the pyrotechnic display; Princess Anjelica snoozed away atop my chest, indifferent to her first 4th of July fireworks. We celebrated a lot of her birthdays with star-spangled cakes and red, white, and blue clothing themes.  At one point she announced she had tired of patriotic-themed birthdays.  Thus, ushered in the era of pink and lavender 4th of July feted birthdays.  The tradition that remained was our family staking a claim on prime river space to watch the 4th of July fireworks.  This endured until the city’s fireworks benefactor died.

This year Anjelica is again coming home for her birthday weekend.  We are having a small gathering with friends, but will host the family later this summer. The menu this year is roasted lemon chicken, risotto cakes, eggplant gratin, salad, and almond-scented raspberry and white cake.  Two weeks ago Anjelica told me she would like to have a 4th of July theme.  I’ve begun decorating inside and out already. While neither of us knows exactly where she will wind up two years from now, post-law school, I take heart in the fact that we are still able to celebrate her birthday together for now.

Buon cumpleanno, carissima star-spangled figlia mia!

Ciao for now.

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