I haven’t seen a fireworks display for the 4th of July since before Samantha was born. I think we went when we were in vet school, but haven’t really made a point of going since then. That was ten years ago.
When we had children, I envisioned packing them up and heading to a park. We’d roll out a blanket, set up a picnic and watch the kids run around while we waited for it to get dark. Then we’d cuddle up under a blanket and watch the bursts of color rain down over us while the kids squealed.
That never happened. Fireworks happen after dark in the summer, which means after bedtime here. We didn’t want to have kids falling asleep only to be woken by loud booms. Then there’s the noise. Little kids don’t like all that loud noise. So we never went.
This year, we spent the 4th at Mammoth with Sean’s family. We didn’t think there would be a fireworks display because of the risk of starting a fire in the heavily wooded area. But there is one about thirty minutes south. We decided to go.
Then we decided Penny shouldn’t go because she really hates loud noises. (She had a fit at the parade earlier in the day when the fire engines sounded their sirens.) Then we decided not to go at all because it didn’t start until 9:15, well past bedtime, and we were leaving the next morning and didn’t want to risk having cranky kids for the five hour car ride home.So that was that. Another year without fireworks.
But I wanted to see them. And I wanted Samantha to see them. She’s been talking about them for a couple of weeks. So, for once, I decided to do something for fun and not worry about the consequences.
Sean didn’t want to go, so he stayed home with Penny. At 8:30, a half hour past bedtime, we loaded the older girls and my mother-in-law into the car and followed my sister-in-law and her family to Crowley lake.
Crowley is a huge lake with absolutely no trees or shade of any kind surrounded by a sandy, rocky beach with multiple dirt paths leading to the shore. We drove our cars over the shifting ground and parked near the edge of the lake.
The girls fell asleep almost as soon as we left the condo, so I carried them, still groggy, to the back of my sister-in-laws minivan. I sat in the back with my legs dangling over the bumper, Ella in my lap. Samantha alternatively sat next to us or stood behind us.
We waited for dark and the fireworks began. Ella grabbed my hands and put them over her ears. Samantha pointed and squealed as the sky lit up. We saw fireworks that looked like a swarm of green fireflies, white waterfalls that twinkled at the end, pixies flitting through the air, and smiley faces.
As I sat there, with my hands over Ella’s ears and Samantha bouncing around me, I felt happy, and I knew the girls did too. Sometimes, happiness is well worth some crankiness the next day.