For as long as I can remember, the 4th of July has been my favorite holiday.
As a kid, there wasn’t an expectation of what to do. We didn’t have a lake place. We didn’t even know people HAD lake places.
Mom would fill up the old Coleman water jug with lemonade. She’d pack up some snacks. Pull out the big old quilt off the couch and we’d head down to watch the fireworks. Back then, they would shoot them off in Johnny Appleseed park and the best view was behind Concordia HS on the hill along the river. We would watch the police and fire boats go up and down the river. Run down to the fence by the water and back up 1700 times. Have to walk to Atz and wait in line for 7 years to use the bathroom after drinking too much lemonade. My parents would read and comment on the terrible parenting happening around us while kids ran around with sparklers.
When we got home we would take our pre-purchased fireworks up to Zimmermans Parking lot which was on the corner of our block. My best friends lived down the street and we would all gather along the parking curbs and watch the fountains and light sparklers. Sometimes other families pitched in and we had our own little fireworks show. Nothing loud. Nothing that shot up into the sky (those were illegal back then). Just a pretty light show. Hot summer nights. Pretty lights. Fire. Pretty much my trifecta of happy.
I’ve continued this tradition with my kids. We don’t always go to the FW Fireworks but we did for many years and have only missed a handful here and there. We always buy fireworks. The scope and volume have changed over the years.
Last night the boys and I set off our bounty. For the first time I said “nice one!” more than “oh my god please be careful”. They have actually listened and absorbed things I’ve taught them. Mostly. Chase still wants to hold the bottle when setting off bottle rockets…. But. They pick up the trash as they go along. They confine our mess to our yard. They go track down the bottle rockets as best they can. (and will do more of that today). And at 11:45 we shut it down. No fuss. The are safe and in my opinion, pretty respectful while enjoying our family tradition.
More than anything, my kids know how much I love this holiday and have always made an effort to enjoy it with me. Tonight my sis and pops are coming over for dinner. Then the kids and I are going to the FW Fireworks for the first time in quite a few years. It will probably be the last time (like so many things this year), that we will all be together for this holiday, at least for awhile. And it’s ok. They are growing up, and doing their own thing and they won’t always be here. And that’s ok. I can do other things too. I have, and will again.
I have so many pictures from the 4th over the years. But this one will probably always be my favorite. Tay has that early teen “dear god why are you taking a picture” face. Harrison is my wiggly little 6 year old, about to turn 7. Chase still has that little boy face that doesn’t have a wariness to it yet. I’d been a single mom for 5 years, and I was about to change careers for the third time. But I had my babies with me on my favorite holiday, just like I will tonight. And that, is what makes me happy.