Monday, July 4, 2011


Hello, and happy July 4th to you! I hope this day has found you happy and healthy!

We've had quite the holiday weekend. Each day has included beach or pool, and I'd almost say I'm finally a blonde again.

I am...utterly exhausted.

But today was...fabulous!

So...having July 4th fall on a "school night" is kind of rough when you're a working parent with a three-year-old. You want to let them experience the full effect of cookouts and fireworks and the awe that you (ok, I...) remember as a child. But you (I) know how quickly 6 a.m. comes, and how hard it will be to get your kid out of bed the following morning. So you (I) are (was) torn.

I was excited when Charles agreed to host a small cookout at our place, but we still went back and forth over fireworks. I wanted to drive about 30 minutes to watch the professional shows from the back porch of the house in which Charles's mom and grandfather grew up, which is today owned by his cousins. He wanted to shoot off some fireworks in our back yard instead.

That option...sort of made me nauseated.

Because I grew up in New JERSEY, where fireworks set off by anyone without a license and a county-sponsored show are ILLEGAL, and even SPARKLERS are ILLEGAL and it just doesn't feel right to light my own damn fireworks.

But that was the option that won, and it turns out one of our neighbors is a certified pyromaniac, so she had a STASH of fireworks to add to the little $30 kit we purchased yesterday on our way home from the beach.

So we had our cookout, which was super-fun. Charles's mom even got out to play some soccer with Zoe, and our neighbors and their kids had a great time hanging out in our back yard. We all ate a lot, and I only had one glass of wine due to a mimosa incident yesterday, and all was well.

Then the sun went down. Charles and our neighbors Monica and Jamie took turns setting off fireworks. And Zoe was delighted.

And I? Well, I got a bucket of water. I got out the fire extinguisher. I even contemplated getting Zoe to put on her Spiderman bicycle helmet. I jumped at every boom. I flinched as each bottle rocket flew off in a different direction.

But got better. I got a bit more comfortable, especially when I realized practically ALL our neighbors with children had made the same choice, and fireworks were going off all around us, and really, if they could do it, why couldn't we?

The only time I paused for a moment was when I came inside about halfway through to check on the dogs. Quentin, my 'fraidy-cat dog who panics at the slightest rumble of thunder, was relaxing calmly in our laundry room. He gave me a look as I came in..."Whatcha worried about, Leah??"

So then I went looking for Molly. She wasn't downstairs. I headed upstairs, expecting her to be hiding next to my bed.


I started to get a little worried. "Molly? Molly?" I couldn't find her, so I called louder.

Then I heard a rustle in Zoe's bathroom. I found Molly, shaking, terrified, laying in the bathtub. I think that if she'd been able to, she'd have had a bucket of water nearby. She'd have had a fire extinguisher. I have no doubt she'd have had a helmet on.

I could TOTALLY understand.

But at least I knew she was safe. I patted her on the head and said something that was, I'm sure, not even remotely soothing, and went back out to watch the rest of the show. Even if we stopped our show then, the neighborhood would still be booming.

And now? It's 10:30. Zoe is in bed, but not yet sleeping. I figure we have a 50/50 shot of actually making it to school and work on time tomorrow. But you know what? DIY fireworks are actually FUN! No one got hurt (well, Charles *does* have that one burn on his hand...), and we had a great time.

All without the crowds on the beaches, or having to deal with drunk drivers on the roads, or getting home even later because we are stuck in traffic...

So I have a feeling we'll be doing this again next year. Bigger and better, as Charles just informed me.

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