The first thing I can recall about going up to my cabin in Petoskey for the 4th of July was 5 years ago. From the second we started traveling northbound on I-75, I knew what we were getting into was trouble. As we drove down the entrance ramp the only thing my eyes could see was bumper to bumper traffic on the crisp morning of July 3rd. I immediately thought to myself “we are going to die before we arrive up north.” After the 4th hour of what seemed like an eternity of being inside an suv, I realized that it was in my, and my families best interest to leave earlier than July 3rd because the feeling in my stomach as I felt it clench up tightly like a knot on a sailboat after the gps displayed that we still had an additional hour and a half was purely terrifying.
After arriving upon to our cabin from the worst traffic I had ever witnessed, we were exhausted.
“How’s about we leave earlier in July so we never have to deal with this again,” I heard my dad say.
This was a promise to never leave for the trip on the 3rd again, and ever since that horrible car ride up north, we have left on the morning of July 1st because it was clear what was going to happen if we procrastinated our departure like we did that fateful year.
Although the car ride that year was long and painful, the memories that I’ve made with my family while up north were the complete opposite, ever since the first time going up to my cabin for the 4th of July five years ago, the rest of our family including my cousins and aunts and uncles have gone up with us because of the description I gave my cousins as to how magical it was sitting on the end of our dock and witnessing the wide variety of fireworks that blew up in multiple colors. Roman candles were always my favorite, watching the red, blue, and green balls of light immerse from the long cardboard tube. This had become a tradition for our family because of the good memories we would always have, such as the long walks down the landing or the 5am fishing trips, I realize now that if I had to go back and think about all of the memories I had made while up north during the 4th of July, I would have to say that at any given point in time, I could always be seen with a smile on my face because of all the good memories that I had made during this short period of 3 days during the year, whether it be having a mortar blow up in the tube giving all of us kids a scare, or when we went to the parade in downtown Petoskey and I got sprayed with water from the fire truck after it played its obnoxiously loud horn.
Life at my cabin during the 4th of July was truly stress relieving and my favorite part of the year for 3 years straight because of all the good times I had spending with my cousins; Cooking s'mores over a campfire, riding our bikes to the beach and playing volleyball, I realize now that it is important to appreciate what I have while it lasts because life is always going to change. I used to think that life would always stay the same but after my parents got divorced and over time growing distant with a few of my cousins, I know now that I will never be able to predict how my life will change in the future. This taught me the life lesson that it is important to appreciate whatever you have while you have it because you never know how your life will change, whether it be a death in the family, or a lost relationship, it is important to hold onto memories while they are occurring, because the feeling of looking back onto memories that were full of love and laughter, and now those memories are faded away, is truly execrable.