This past weekend brought home to me how very different our life feels up here. Apparently in Shoreline, when the law says that fireworks are illegal in the city, people for the most part comply. The night was a far cry from the Kenwood war zone we encountered during our first Fourth of July in L.A. I remember that first year actually being frightened when Doug went out on our little front porch, and begging him to come back inside. I remember not being able to see the apartment building across the street due to the wall of smoke.

This year, Doug and I packed up the kids and made the very long journey to 178th (we live on 180th) to spend the weekend at my parents’ house. We grilled and played in the yard and took a little day trip to Puyallup to see my cousin and her family. Mercy really wanted to see fireworks, so she and I and my dad drove down into Edmonds and sat perched on a bench next to the beach and watched the city show held in a stadium nearby. Aaron is terrified of fireworks so he opted to stay home and cuddle up with On-Demand TV and his grammy.

As we walked along the beach, we passed a quinceniera that was being held in a beachfront community center. Mercy stopped in her tracks and gazed at the dresses and hats and the sheer volume of brown skin that has already become foreign. The bounce of the music was familiar to her and it made her smile. “Mercy, that was the music you went to sleep to for many, many nights,” I told her, smiling as well. This was a serious quinceniera too. There was a tour bus parked outside of the center and a fleet of very fancy cars in the parking lot.

Mercy still asks me a lot of questions about Los Angeles. It’s almost like she wants to make sure that she keeps a hold of her memories. I think we all miss it more than we know how to say.


  1. Erika, I don’t know what to say. I know that when I stopped teaching in urban areas, I got a lot of people who responded to the news as if I had escaped something and should be congratulated. I don’t know if you get that but keep missing Los Angeles so that you always remember how much God was present there and can communicate it to other people whose expereinces lead them to assume differently.

  2. Thanks, Rebecca! I have loved reading about your upcoming marriage and only wish I were closer and we were closer so that I could join in the celebration! Thanks for understanding this post.

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