Lessons from Fireworks

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This week was the Fourth of July.  It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything, and I’ve been feeling quite guilty about that, but I had tons of excuses.  School ended, and we needed to readjust to 4 children in the house all day every day.  And by that I mean when they are not playing baseball, softball, taekwondo, or going to horseback riding lessons or soccer camp or two rounds of therapy.  Throw in several runs to the doctor because Scooter (whose new name should just be Trouble, or maybe Monkey) has decided his little body doesn’t like milk or anything milk related, or soy, or something else that we just haven’t figured out yet.  Oh, and Mondays the kids all stay home with Dad while I work for 5 hours…seems like a perfect solution, and yet, it really adds to the craziness of our weeks.  Needless to say our summer so far has been more running than relaxing.

Now, finally, the sports are finished (except riding), Squirt has gone to camp for 5 whole days (yikes!), Boyo is enjoying a playdate, and the littles and I are enjoying a little calm time, so I decided I needed to get a post up.

On Wednesday, the Fourth of July, we had a planned a fun, family, regular-old Independence Day celebration.  We were going to go to a parade in the morning, drive to Michigan around lunch, stop along the lake with a picnic, and enjoy the fireworks with cousins in the evening.  Except it didn’t go exactly as planned.  Actually, it went nothing like we’d planned.  To start with, the heat index in the morning was hovering close to 110°.  WAY to hot to take 3 asthmatic children and 1 baby to a parade.  So we stayed home, cleaned, did some yard work, and packed up Squirt for camp.  Well, the yard work took awhile, so we didn’t actually leave home in time to picnic.  As a matter of fact, we didn’t get to Michigan before dinner, either.  Instead, we drove 3 hours with a puking puppy to get there just in time for fireworks…and then the real fun began.

See, fireworks, and SPD are NOT a great combination.  I *know* this.  Every year I *feel* this.  And every year I swear we will do something different next time.  But the memories I have of going to a big community picnic, enjoying the games, watching the parachuters drop, listening the band play the great marches and American music, and watching the fireworks as a family get me every year.  I so want them to enjoy it like I did…

So this year, we gave Booga a choice.  Grandma was staying home, and he chose (wisely!) to stay with her and watch them on tv.  That was ok, but he got sad and lonely for Mommy, and that was a first, so it made me sad, too.  Squirt really wanted to go, Boyo was excited, and it was the first year Scooter would actually see them, and I really wanted to be there to see his face.  So the rest of us set off for the fireworks.  Cue the lines of traffic that made it seem like the car wouldn’t even make it down the road, the crowd of people sitting close, laughing and talking loudly, the dark coming quickly, and the hustle to sit and watch the show.  The first firework went off and my 9-year old daughter screeched, ducked for cover, and cowered behind her father.  Her brilliant aunt (I know better, I really do, but Aunt Sue to the rescue!!) offered her ear muffs, which she put on quickly, but continued to cower until she was forced to move over, where she promptly buried her head in Daddy’s lap and stayed that way until she fell asleep.

Boyo, to be fair, fully enjoyed the whole show (which was pretty long), but he would have liked to have his own ear muffs.  I’m online looking as I type. ☺  Scooter was ok for the first couple fireworks, then started to cry.  I took him a little away, got under a tree, and held his ears.  This seemed to do the trick, because he was perfectly happy to watch, point, and occasionally look up to say “oooooh!”  But while standing under the tree, I saw myself in those fireworks.  We have been so busy this summer that it is half over and I’m wondering when it started.  There is so much pressure building up, just to get lit, fly up and explode, and it’s over.  We are exploding here.  That’s not to say we’re not enjoying it, just like the fireworks are beautiful for a moment, but it’s gone so quickly, and we are having our quick bits of fun, but there is just so much running around, lighting fires, starting more and more, and then what?

A friend of mine has called this summer with her children The Summer of Yes.  Whatever they want to do, no matter how crazy or silly, they are going to do together.  They’ve been having all sorts of fun and I almost decided to do the same thing, but I’ve decided that next year we are going to have the Summer of No.  No, we aren’t going to be in 4 sports at the same time.  No, we are not going to schedule so much in so little time.  No, we are not going to stretch ourselves so thin that we don’t remember how to have fun.  No, we don’t have to go to parades and fireworks.  Just no.  And maybe instead, we’ll find a beautiful sunset…the kind that lasts for hours, and can’t be recreated by men with explosives.  The kind that we’ll remember forever.

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About wildonesmama

I am a former teacher, current stay at home mom to 4 children. Squirt is 9, Boyo is 6, Booga is 4, and Scooter is 1. On our wild ride we are learning to navigate the world of Sensory Processing Disorder, and hope to help educate others about just what this special diagnosis means, how it changes the way kids see the world, and what parents, teachers, Sunday school teachers, and coaches can do to help.

2 responses »

  1. The summer of “no” is a good idea. Overscheduling is a stressful thing for adults, yet our society feels everyone should do it to their children. Small amounts of exposure to sensory items will help over time. Reading stories and watching a movie about something new before exposure is helpful too. The main thing to remember is that the adults around the kids not react and remain calm. Hang in there and just enjoy summer :)

  2. Lori, even for just us with two kids, we have done, or are going to do, 1 week of soccer camp, 1 week of dance camp, 2 nights overnight church camp, a one day church camp, and two weeks of VBSs. Not to mention my part time job thrown in there, which is actually the most relaxing part of my week! And, as much as I love to schedule fun things to do, I have found myself saying “no” to some things just for the sake of our family sanity.

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