When I was growing up, the 4th of July was the holiday. We had BBQ’s, friends, family, pools, drinking adults, unsupervised kids, the lake, and fireworks. Oh the fireworks! The bigger, louder, brighter the better! We lived near a Native American Reservation. Do you know what that meant? Not only did we have fireworks, but we had illegal fireworks and lots of them. None of that “Safe and Sane” crap for our Fourth. We had the kind of fireworks that could blow your hand off. If by some chance we ran out of fireworks, we made our own out of gunpowder and aluminum foil. What? You mean you didn’t? I couldn’t wait to recreate these fun times with my own family.
(Hmmm, now that I’m looking back on this, maybe all that wasn’t such a great idea)
Fast forward 30 years and I am now a mommy to a special needs child. She does not like any bright lights or loud noises. Crowds and “different” foods are triggers of a meltdown. She doesn’t even like being outside for very long. The last time we celebrated the 4th of July was right after she was born, before her aversion to all the above became so apparent.
Our current celebration consists of BBQing at home and sending the older children to various places where they have a chance of seeing fireworks. We try to put Faith to bed early before the loudest BOOM‘s start so she does not get overwhelmed. Then hubby and I sit on our porch and hope for glimpses of other families fireworks.
How have your holiday celebrations changed from what you remember as a child? Any holiday at all. What do you do differently?
We have stayed home the last few years. The kids get upset when they see others eating food they can’t have. Last year Teague was miserable at the fireworks so we will skip them this year. As a kid, we would sit next to a lake WAY too close to where they were launching the fireworks. We would be so close that you would get hit by the capsules while they were still hot. I remember as a kid have to bundle up to go to the fireworks so it wouldn’t burn your skin. Apparently it never dawned on my parents to move away from the canon.
I used to work for a company called Ace Fireworks out of Bellevue, Wa. I worked there during my college years. I was the highest paid at the factory other than my supervisors of course. They liked me so much they would put me on an airplane and send me to Hawaii every year the day after Christmas where I would run a fireworks warehouse. In Hawaii they used to celebrate New Years with FIRECRACKERS. I mean FIRECRACKERS. They had cakes of 50,000 firecrackers strung together and when blown up there was so much red paper all over the ground. Bottle Rockets were also a popular item. And the price I could buy them for was incredibly cheap. I could buy a gross (144) of bottle rockets for $4. And they would sell for over $50. What a profit to be made. I now look at the Indian reservation fireworks and see how these fireworks are their years revenue. The money made by ripping off customers is incredible. Now after the Navy, I don’t even care about fireworks, I don’t waste my hard earned money on any of it. Plus my animals hate any bang they hear. They bark at any loud sound. This is the season where I can’t sleep because here on the Suquamish Reservation there are BIG bangs every night. M-80’s, M-1000’s cherry bombs, whatever they don’t sell to the public.
The majority of our holidays have changed. But the biggest two are the 4th and Thanksgiving.
The 4th I ALWAYS spent at Lake Elliot, for the Ivar’s 4th celebration and huge fireworks off a barge, it was amazing and a best memory of mine. (it also kicked off Sea Fair, which we did every year–and one thing which as a family we can’t do know) there is just no way Del would survive the crowds. We would have complete melt down, not to mention the heat; he is still having problems with regulating his own body temperature.
Thanksgiving I traveled to southern OR to my mom’s parents, every year since I 8 months old. Del can’t handle the 8 hour travel well, so we skip it. I’m hoping that one we maybe able to do eventually, but I’m not holding my breath righ now.