July Fourth’s Fireworks

April 1, 2011 | Efrain Diaz

This piece from Inside/Out was written and performed by Efraim,”De” Diaz.” It is another example of the rich material that the men drew from their own autobiographies.

It was July 3, 1989. Every year on the 4th of July we have a big family gathering. This year we were to celebrate Independence Day at South Beach.

We spent the day shopping and for everything we needed for our big family picnic.
We bought steaks, chicken, fish, beef, burgers, beer and plenty of fireworks. The family was really excited cause we were going to meet family members we hadn’t seen in many years.

Late that night about 11 p.m., I received a call from “Mary.” She said that Estelle was in the hospital. I called my parents and told them I was headed to Lutheran Medical Center. Once I arrived at the hospital I met Mary, Estelle’s sisters and brothers. I asked how long she had been here? One of her sisters said since about 10 p.m. The doctors came out and asked me if I was ready. They suited me up and we proceeded to the delivery room. There she was lying in a bed having contractions. To be honest with you, she didn’t want me there because I was being blamed for being the cause of her pregnancy..

The time arrived and she pushed and the yelling and screaming got louder and louder. But something happened. The baby turned and they had to perform an emergency C-Section. I had to leave the room and spend the rest of the night in the waiting area.

It was now about 3 a.m. When the doctor finally came out and said “congratulations you’re a daddy to a healthy baby girl,” I was so excited I didn’t know how to act. My emotions were all over the place because it doesn’t matter how prepared you believe you are, when you are struck with such a life changing experience you feel like you don’t know what to do.

As I left thee hospital I stopped at the 24-hour gift shop and bought two boxes of cigars ”It’s a girl.” I was giving them out to whoever I knew and those I didn’t know. Rather than calling, I went to my parent’s house to let them know they were grand parents. They sat me down and gave me a lecture on parenting..

That morning I decided instead of going on the family picnic I would spend the day at the hospital with my baby girl–The new part of me.

That evening after visiting hours was over I was able to stay a lot longer because parents’ visiting hours are extended. I was able to really take in the moment and speak to Melanie.

We had a room facing the river and from a distance we were able to see the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks display. Then it hit me—I was overwhelmed with emotions I’ve never experienced.

I stood there looking out a sound proof window, starring at my image holding this priceless gift, sharing my first 4th of July, just me and Melanie, Enjoying the Macy’s fireworks with this new part of me.

So every Independence Day for the remainder of my life I will always remember this life changing experience. I always cherish and love the 4th of July.

That’s my story.