I say it every year, but one of these years we will see real fireworks on the 4th of July. It hasn't happened since 2007, but one of these years, we will. I swear.
Growing up, I have fond memories of the 4th. We'd usually go to some sort of family picnic--most memorably at my grandma's house when she still had a pool. After dinner we'd drive over to the local park along the river, park in long lines of cars, set up our lawn chairs and blankets, bring out some snacks and drinks (the best of which was often a container of cherries!), and people watch until it was dark. I'd lust after the plastic light-up crap the vendors were selling, and no doubt I probably got bored after a while. But eventually the fireworks would start...and most of the time, I'd end up hiding in the car in fear of the giant booms. But the colors were pretty, and I liked that part. Regardless...it was a "thing" and that's how our 4th of July usually went.
As I got older my parents no longer wanted to go, and I think I went to at least a couple displays with friends. I worked a game on the 4th as a Bisons intern. Once I was on my own I went to a sporting event or two and saw fireworks there. We spent one in Vegas on our honeymoon, watching fireworks from our hotel room. And back in 2007 we came down to my 16th floor office downtown and watched from the best possible vantage point. But since then we haven't really done anything specific to celebrate the day, and that bums me out a bit. Despite all that's happened in the years since those picnics and trips to the river, those activities still feel like what I should be doing on the 4th of July.
There are a few reasons why we haven't done anything. Early on, the logistics of having a baby made the outing a little daunting--late night, loud noises, unknown comfort level--and that's the case again with Carter. In between, and even now, we've just had stuff going on. This year it was getting ready for Jacob's birthday party. In the past it's been yard work and running around and catching up on sleep (or at least, not wanting to make things worse). It never seems worth the effort...until I see everyone's Facebook pictures and realize that we didn't do anything to make the 4th of July special and unique. And while I know Jacob's only five and Carter is even younger, I know so many of those good memories I have, the ones that compel me to feel like we should be doing that stuff, started when I was that little. And so far we've dropped the ball.
Also, to be fair, Jacob doesn't like fireworks. He's slowly but surely warming up to them under certain circumstances--he liked them last year at the Bisons game but still doesn't like them at Red Wings games--but it's a bit hit-or-miss. Carter may not like them for a while yet, but maybe by next year we can see if he's at least interested in them.
Another issue is that our town doesn't do a display anymore. We live in a rather large town, but fireworks were apparently part of budget cuts somewhere along the way. They did them up until a couple years ago, and then they stopped because the privately owned park that hosted them couldn't get enough volunteers. So, in order to see them, we'd have to venture to another town, most likely in an area we're not familiar with. It's not that we can't, it's just that right now it's still a bit awkward if we can't get a comfortable spot or know how early we have to go or what we might do when we get there. This year it did occur to me that we could come downtown early, walk by the river, and then walk back to my building for the fireworks, but again--exhaustion and other busyness took over, so maybe next year. But inevitably something else will come up that will keep us away again.
But at some point I really do want to start a new tradition and at least mark the day with some activity that will remind the boys why the day is special. And I'd rather that activity not be watching fireworks on TV in our living room. One of these years...