Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy Fourth of July!

July is my husband's favorite month (his birthday month) and The Fourth of July is his favorite day of the year. He gets as excited about it as I do about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Among his most cherished childhood memories are Independence Days at his parents' lake house surrounded by dozens of extended family members, relishing his mom's home cooking, swimming for hours, and setting off hundreds of noisy explosives. Penn is a fireworks aficianado.

For a few years I got to be part of the celebration, although I know a great deal of the specialness of it all was lost on me. I loved the amazing fireworks show the "boy cousins" put on in the evening. But the previous eight or so hours of constant booming, popping, and screaming of the lesser fireworks (you know the really loud and annoying kind that they throw in the bag as a bonus when one spends a lot of money at fireworks stands?) did get a bit tedious. :)

When Nicknack was born Penn and I agreed that we'd have to excuse ourselves from the fun for a few years. The hours and hours of deafening noise just aren't appropriate for new ears.

Last year was our first Fourth of July in this house. Nicknack was about five weeks old. Penn and I made a date to sit in the backyard at five til ten, when darkness begins to set in, to catch the surrounding fireworks displays. But Nicknack had other ideas. He and I were still struggling tremendously with nursing, and wouldn't you know it - he chose that exact time to begin a very lengthy and productive nursing session. Believe me, when nursing went well it was such a relief that I dropped everything else. So Penn stood outside by himself for an hour, watching the fireworks and sharing a running commentary of it all through our bedroom's screen windows. (He thinks everyone is as interested in fireworks as he is and I don't do anything to shatter this delusion.)

This year we had a quiet, but fun Fourth. We took Nicknack swimming in Penn's boss's pool (He lets us use it when he is out of town) and had a wonderful time in our own backyard for most of the afternoon. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Hot enough for Nicknack to splash in his little pool and toddle around the yard nakey. We stayed comfortably cool with the help of our hose's mist feature. :)

This year Nicknack was soundly asleep when ten o'clock rolled around. The 360 degree fireworks noise was incredibly loud and went on for hours. I kept checking on him (and turning up his bedroom white noise machine), but he was blissfully unaware. What a difference a year makes! Penn and I were able to take in all the surrounding fireworks together. We live on a cliff, on the Sound. So it's pretty neat to see the hundreds and hundreds of blasts all along Vashon and Bainbridge Island. Best of all we have good view of the Normandy Park and Tacoma fireworks shows. The latter goes on for nearly an hour and is a pretty impressive display.

Honestly, I enjoyed watching Penn as much as the fireworks. I sat in a lounge chair, but he was too excited to sit. He found the exact spot in the yard where you can see the two simultaneous shows and their reflections on the water. So, of course, eventually I had to stand there too. He oohed and aahed for thirty solid minutes. "Look at that one!" He'd point. "WHOAAA!" He'd shout.

I felt bad that he missed another Fourth of July famiy gathering and the opportunity to put on his own fireworks shows. (Although our budget is thanking us.) Maybe next year. Nicknack can wear earplugs. Or maybe next year we'll do the same thing as this year. Only we'll wake Nicknack at ten so we can bring him out and show him fireworks. Or maybe we'll live in another (smaller) town and we'll go to see some kind of community fireworks show. Who knows. Really, I think Penn will be happy as long as there are fireworks to be enjoyed. I can't think of much that he would appreciate more than sharing his love of fireworks with his little guy. (And I can't think of much that would worry me more, so I hope he is happy watching them and not lighting them!)

At about midnight we finally crawled into bed. We left the bedroom windows open for a while, to enjoy all the booms and blasts for a bit longer. In a dreamy voice Penn asked me the same question he asks every Fourth of July and New Year's Eve. "Someday can we go to the World Fireworks Championship?"

Of course we will. And it will be great.

Happy Fourth of July!


Robin said...

Inside every man is a BOY just dying to come out!!! And that is one of the most charming things about men I can think of!
I'm glad you had a fun private 4th of July. Private would have been good for me - I had about 35 people over and half of them were under the age of 10. It was fun - but I am SO tired today.

JennaG said...

Ahh, the things we sacrifice to be a parent. It's so worth it though. I'm glad you had a nice day--we had a quiet holiday as well--we stayed home until it was time to go watch a friend's fireworks. I have tagged you if you are interested.

Shelly said...


Your recounting of your husband's love for fireworks was just precious. Glad your little one slept soundly this year!

Michelle said...

sounds like it was a very special 4th with just the two of you outside in the quite, enjoying the show.

Lisa said...

Hmmmmm - Could it be that you and Penn have started your own family tradition?
Sometimes creating new ones with our own kiddoes can mean more than keeping up with the old traditions.
But,no reason you can't have the best of both. However it works out in the future for you, just enjoy each moment as it comes.

Alana said...

Glad you got to SEE the fireworks this year. I remember that stage well!

Janelle said...

You sure know how to tell a good story. I felt like I was in your backyard watching the show with you.

This year was the first year to let my 6yr old help daddy with the explosives. I was very nervous watching them interact and really wanted to stop the burning and the blowing up. But daddy and son had a moment that I can't comprehend. It was great to see them.

Someday, Nicknack and daddy will have that same moment. I bet Penn can't wait.

carole by faith said...

A favored PS - My friend Mandy and I have started a surprise blog for a dear treasured mentor friend of ours. If you could take a wee second to post a hello and tell her how blogging world has blessed you, I'd so appreciate it! We're going to show it to her this Tuesday and welcome another siesta!! :)

PS - Love me some Clark Griswold! lol