Weeks before the 4th of July, Tess starts ranting about the fireworks. Ever since she was a little(r) kid calling them “sequins everywhere!”, she’s been in love with sparks in the sky.
We’re finally getting a routine down pat! We spent a lot of time with family and friends on the third, kicking back and relaxing. That night, there’s a huge fireworks show in town. We don’t go down to the show, which gets really crowded. We watch it with our neighbors from a nearby hill with a great view. They give our kids glow sticks and make room for them on staked out blankets. People we don’t know laugh at them and high-five them as they ooh and ah over the sky. When someone with a stroller needs to get by, we all make room.
We go to the same parade on the fourth that I went to as a little kid. We walk up the small town streets and say hi to everyone we know, while the kids crane their necks to see if the fire trucks are coming. We meet up on the same street corner with my parents and siblings to watch the parade go by. It’s neat to share something with them that I can barely remember, and to confirm my hazy thoughts with my parents. “Did I ride a bike in this parade?” The answer was yes.
That night, my brother sets off fireworks as the adults and kids, round-eyed, startle at each bang overhead. Our kids play with people they know and people they don’t, and we all eat too much barbecue and tell stories. As I told Marion, it’s about as American as you can get! This year, we brought a bunch of friends with us which made the night extra special. It’s amazing how much community we have after eight years here.
There’s always a kid who freaks out about the fireworks sounds, and it’s never the one I bank on. On the third, Griff watched fireworks with awe and joy. On the fourth, he buried his face in my armpit and would not look at anything but also didn’t want to go inside. As he burrowed into me, I enjoyed making him feel safe in my arms. We laughed and joked as the last fireworks went off, and then pack the kids up for dozing in the car. They are all already clamoring for next year’s fireworks, but by then they’ll be a year older. Who knows how they feel about fireworks then? We’ll enjoy the reenactments and storytelling for the next few months, hoping next year’s reactions are just as extravagant.