My first 4th of July as a new mom, I had a 5-month-old baby who was just starting to get on a sleep schedule, and who required an elaborate ritual of rhythmic shush-ing and energy healing to flutter those eyelids closed. And just as he went to sleep, and I stiffly backed out of the room holding my breath, I hear, POP-POP, POPPOPOPOPOPOPOPOP.
MOTHERFFF—AHHHHHHHHHHH! Those goddamn neighbors (she says with a slight growl in her throat).
You know that urge you have to strangle the UPS man who rings the doorbell, or the 17-year-old twat revving his supped-up Honda right in front of your house when you need ONE MORE HOUR OF NAPTIME PLEASE GOD? Take that feeling, and put whatever illegal weapons you can find into my hands. THAT'S how I felt.
I wish I could say that the holiday got better from there.
Second 4th of July: Noah passes out in my arms waiting for the fireworks to start, and we end up pulling over on the side of the road to show a groggy one-year-old kid how the sky is exploding in white lights. He smiles, but, really, the fact that grass grows from the dirt is magical enough for a one-year-old.
Third 4th of July: With high hopes, we funnel our car into the epic traffic that is 4th of July night, only to have him shriek and cover his ears when the BOOMs start happening. His face didn't light up with joy, as I had imagined, but contorted itself into the look of sheer terror. That was fun.
Fourth 4th of July: Determined to avoid the traffic, we hiked up a hill near a local firework spot, which turned out to be the epicenter of all mosquitoes on Planet Earth. Hours and liters of blood loss later, we realized that the fireworks must have been cancelled. And even if they weren't, Noah was too fascinated with chasing fireflies with his friend to care. #priorities
And so if you're not quite as excited for this holiday as you used to be, you're not alone. Here's an illustrated guide to the Fourth of July: BEFORE and AFTER Kids...
Anticipation of Fourth of July BEFORE Kids:
Anticipation of Fourth of July AFTER Kids:
"What do you mean you're going out at 9:30? That's, like, two hours after bedtime!"
Expectation of toddler's reaction to first fireworks:
Reality of toddler's reaction to first fireworks:
"TOO YOUD, MAMA! TOO YOUD!!!!"
You, during the firework finale, before kids:
You, during the firework finale, with kids who are already in bed:
"ENOUGH! ENOUGH! EEEEEEEE-NOUGH!"
Good luck tonight, mamas.
And bright side: It looks like Year Five might be the magical year where loud fireworks and late-night celebrations are actually possible. Here's to hoping!