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Monday, July 4, 2011


Can someone explain to me why is is so difficult to find a firework display on the day before the Fourth of July? I do understand that the most displays will be on the Fourth. I get that! But over the years we have been spoiled. I don't even know when it started. When I was a child we had firework displays on the Forth. That was it, not any other day. Nobody worked on the Forth and we always went to the same park. It was a day of family fun.

Sometime in the last few decades The Forth of July expanded. It became a multi-day event. Fireworks were now on more than one night. Carnivals that used to just be rides and amazing food now had fireworks every night. Awesome!!! We would see fireworks on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The Fourth always had the best display of course. But still the other days were nice to go see.

It has been like that for years. I have grown accustom to the being able to see fireworks for days before the Fourth. If on the Forth we are at a family picnic and watching local displays from a distance and only being able to see the high ones and missing the feeling of the BOOMS in our chests, I know we can catch a display the night before so we done't miss the experience.

So I of course expected it to be like that this year. My husband has to go to work on the Fourth this year. The company he works for doesn't seem to follow the same schedule as the rest of the world. They gave him the third of July off and scheduled him to come into work at 6 pm on the Forth. No problem we thought we could adjust. Instead of watching fireworks on the Forth we would go on the third.

This year the third is on a Sunday and assumed because it was the weekend and the third that we could find a local firework display. We could have gone on Saturday but my son and husband went to the movies (because the local movie theater decided not to show a Sensory Friendly Movie that morning which made me very upset). So of course we thought we would see fireworks on Sunday night. We were wrong.

Oddly enough we could have seen fireworks on Saturday night. We of course could also watch them on the night of the Forth. Other areas in the area, which are a bit of a drive for us, did have fireworks on Sunday, but nothing near us. In fact a local park has them on the 2nd and the 4th, specifically avoiding fireworks on the 3rd. So I have to take the kids to see the fireworks alone on the Forth.

The idea of taking them alone terrifies me. I do not like being in crowds. That is an understatement. They overwhelm me and overload me. There is too much noise and too much energy. I can feel the people around me. We all can do it, we all have a bubble of personal space around us and at times we all have felt our personal space invaded. In a crowd I feel like my personal space is being bombarded. The closest way to describe it is like when a sprinkler rains water down on you. The local park is also a narrow strip of land next to a river so it is very crowded over a small area of space.

Then of course I worry about the kids running off, I worry about someone running off with the kids, I worry about them falling into the river, The only thing I don't worry about is them getting run over. The local police block off all traffic from getting anywhere near the park. This of course means that there are no close parking spots and that there will be a long walk t the very crowded park. We have to carry our blanket, our refreshments, and things to entertain the children. We need things to entertain the children because the only way to get an area large enough to spread out your blanket with a decent view of the sky between the trees of the park is to get there hours before the fireworks begin.

After we have been there for hours and have gone crazy trying to keep an eye on the children who have grown bored of the things we have brought with us to entertain us and are about ready to scream at the top of our lungs because they have spilled the chips and gotten Kool-aid all over the blanket. The people who brought their dog to the park are ignoring his barking and now my daughter is scared. The couple on the other side of us has decided to show everyone near-by how much they lust after each other. Someone else is throwing a frisbee and it hits me in the head. Now the people selling the stupid glowing toys walks by and the kids "Will just die" if we don't buy them for them. We know they won't last the week but we buy them shut the kids up and start to pray that the sun sets so the fireworks will start.

Finally the BOOM announcing the start of the show sounds and the crowd grows quiet. The display is beautiful and colorful. The kids love it and are oooing and ahhing. Car alarms are going off all around us because the fireworks are setting them off. We are close enough to the launch site that we can smell the powder as they launch. Then all too soon the display peaks with the finale and then all is quiet. People wait just in case there are a few straggler fireworks that are manually set off because they didn't launch when they were supposed to.

Then the torture of the night begins. Everybody gets up at the same time and all leave the park at the same time. Somehow we manage to pack up all out items and grab the kids by the hand so we don't get separated in the exodus to our cars that are parked nowhere near us. Of course now it is dark and the children are tired and cranky. I am tired and cranky too. When we finally get to the car, get everything loaded up and the kids fastened in their seats, the next annoyance begins.

Everyone else has gotten to their cars and we all want to leave the area at the same time. Streets are still blocked off, routes we are used to taking are closed and traffic is at a standstill. People are honking their horns, they must know that it won't help but it gives them something to do. Some people are yelling at the other cars to encourage them to move, again it does not help. A drive that normally takes less than three minutes now can take over a half hour.

This is why I am terrified of taking the kids to watch the fireworks alone on the Forth. I briefly considered having us all ride our bicycles. But I don't think my daughter will be able to get all the way home. Then what do I do? I can't carry her, all our things, her bicycle and mine. Walking is not an option, neither one will be able to get all the way home.

My husband suggested calling his mother to have her bring the kids. Over my dead body! She already thinks I am a horrible mother and wife, I don't want her thinking that I don't want to take my own kids to watch the fireworks.

I will get over my fear and I will take them to watch the fireworks. Somehow I will manage not to buy the overpriced glowing crack like toys. I will get all of us through the crowd without going crazy. I will get us home slowly and not snap. The Forth of July madness will be over and life will return to our version of normal. Still I wonder why local parks had fireworks on Saturday and Monday.

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