Posted by: dinainsuburbia | July 8, 2009

grand ole flag

Sorry that MJ preempted my 4th of July post yesterday; it was just too poignant a moment to pass up.  And, as I posted yesterday, his music is almost definitive of my childhood, that I couldn’t help but say something, even IF- with all the media coverage- there really is nothing left to be said.

Forth of July- another one of those childhood memory inducing holidays- maybe even more so than Christmas. Remember how excited you were for the 4th?  Off school for the first few weeks, the possibilities of summer spread out before you.  Hot weather, swimming, adults liquored up and more permissive than usual.  What WASN’T there to look forward too!

When I was younger, my Dad was a self-proclaimed Grucci  (or, as Dad thought, Gucci) Family member (Grucci are big fireworks people here on the East Coast); buying fireworks from his “secret” source and setting them off much to the delight of the kids and the neighbors.  It seemed, at the time, his fireworks were just as sophisticated as his professional counterparts, and I remember him boasting he spent $300?  $500? on fireworks (back in 1983 – that was a lot of money.. someone’s rent payment even)?   We’d spend the first part of the day swimming in my cousin’s pool.. getting all water logged and pliable; making up countless games and expending more energy than I probably can muster today.  We were surrounded by extended family- aunts, uncles, and more cousins- a grouping that, now that we are older, don’t get to see each other that much- having families and responsibilities of our own.  

The day went on forever, as days do when you’re waiting for night.  We’d celebrate the arrival of the fireflies with glee ’cause that meant just a few hours more until the firework show.  We’d take dibs on who got to retrieve the parachute men that came down from a few of the fireworks (these were actually silly, low-impact fireworks- but us kids loved them if only to chase down those parachute men).  Finally, it was time to go down to the lake.. where my dad set off the fireworks.  We’d bring towels and snacks and swim away the last moments of daylight while my dad setup his spectacular.  Looking back, this was probably my dad’s favorite holiday too- at the time he was young- 32? 35? – about my age now.  And he really got a kick of being the “man” and showing off his firework skills.  When I close my eyes I can see his Cheshire Cat grin as he ran away from the just-lit fuse.  

There is something about the 4th that brings everyone together- family, friends, neighbors.  Sitting last Friday night on the lawn of the Amityville library, you could sense the underlying electricity of excitement and anticipation among not only the children but the adults.  Cause- maybe if it is only for one day- we are all the same. We are all Americans- and it’s that one unifying concept that brings us all together, regardless of what our differences may be every other day of the year.

This Forth was Maddie’s first exposure to fireworks; last year we didn’t get to see any- and she was still a little too long to stay up until 9:30-10:00 pm anyway.  This year I was DETERMINED to get the kid to a firework show.  Why does it always seem like we’re scrambling last minute to get to the show on time (and why is it also that we never *quite* know what time the fireworks are set off)?  Alas, we got to shows both on the 3rd AND 4th (lucky girl) and Maddie was transfixed by the sites and sounds.  

THIS is what makes it all worthwhile- being a parent that is: the craziness, the frustrations, all the good stuff and yes, the bad stuff rolled into one- when you watch your child’s face as they watch THEIR first fireworks.. it’s just, well.. priceless!

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