Wry Parents Guide to 4th of July Fireworks

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Fireworks and Fourth of July Celebrations

Does the thought of July the Fourth strike fear and panic into your heart?

There’s so much to do! The company will be over soon, you’ll have lots of fancy dress affairs to attend, you’ll be preparing your festive foods for weeks in advance.

Don’t forget the decorations – the halls will be festooned with blue white and red décor, it should be the most patriotic house on the block!

Only Kidding

Ok, the Fourth of July doesn’t usually inspire Christmas level panic.

Most of us just look forward to the relaxing day off and casual grill out food. And let’s be honest, if we could be our July selves in about five months, the holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s day would be a whole lot less stressful.

We are getting old

It’s funny, there was a time you probably would not have missed going out for fireworks. 

Then you have your first baby and fireworks take a back seat to those sensitive, adorable little ears that you don’t want to be exposed to the report of the exploding fireworks. 

Then for a couple of hit or miss years, you really want to go but you’re pretty sure your little ones are going to be too scared of all the exciting flashbang in the sky.

Finally, you reach the perfect age for viewing fireworks and you subsequently have this conversation with yourself.

Fun mom going head to head with wry mom

Fun mom: “Well, he’s never seen the fireworks before – I really think he would love them. It’s time.”

Wry mom: “You have to go at least an hour early to park anywhere even remotely close to the viewing area. What are you planning to do for an hour?”

Fun mom: “He can frolic in the park until the fireworks start. It will be like some idyllic summer childhood dream, and then I will get to watch his rapturous awe as they light up the sky. It’ll be like that movie…”

Wry mom: “Independence Day?”

Fun mom: “Wasn’t that about aliens?”

Wry mom:Born on the Fourth of July?”

Fun mom: “Pretty sure that’s about Vietnam and PTSD?”

Wry mom: “July 4th scene in The Sandlot?”

Fun mom: “Yes, The Sandlot, right up until they eat the chew and throw up all over the place”

Wry mom: “You’ll need to save a spot with a blanket, there will be no frolicking. And what about the mosquitoes? I know how much you worry about viral encephalitis.”

Fun mom: “Man, you’re really trying to get out of this experience for us, aren’t you? But you’re not wrong, let’s avoid encephalitis please.”

Wry mom: “I’m tired. Can we please just watch it on TV and go to bed early?”

Fun mom: “But it’s a classic American celebratory experience! Also, you’re always tired.”

Wry mom: “Fair, but it starts at 10pm. You go to bed at 9. Children go to bed at 8. What part of this is a good idea again?”

Fun mom: “That’s actually legitimate. Maybe we could convince the city officials to do fireworks at 5 am, everyone is awake anyway. Just start the celebrations with a bang.”

This will happen every year

You will subsequently repeat this conversation every year, because you will forever and always be tired, and it will always be past your bedtime.

Nevertheless, you will go to the fireworks.

If your child or children do not completely freak out about the giant booms and hide in your shirt for security, watching their sweet, innocent faces take in the beautiful colors and impressively large explosive reports will melt your heart.

It might even make you less annoyed that it’s eleven pm and you’re being eaten alive by ravenous mosquitoes.

If you’re really lucky, the kids may even sleep in the next day, but don’t get your hopes up.

Some Tips for Enjoying the Fourth

-Wear glow necklaces or bring a small flashlight. If you are going to a crowded park, it’s easy to lose little ones in the shuffle and throng after it is over. Hang on to those kiddos tight!

-Bring along water and snacks. Perhaps an obvious tip, but if you forget, someone will sell you an $8 bottle of water and you’ll be so glad your child stopped whining, you won’t even be mad.

-Bring blankets! It always seems to cool off to the point of chilly here at night, if that is the case for you, make sure you and your kids have some layers on. No fun getting too cold.

-Don’t let your kids play with fireworks. I let my boys do a lot of things… but sparklers are one thing we are going to wait a while to indulge in. When they can grasp the idea that the end of a sparkler is like five hundred degrees and could potentially maim someone and not accidentally light themselves or someone else on fire, then maybe, we will consider sparklers. Last year I saw four and five-year-olds running around with sparklers. Yikes. 

-Bug spray, avoid encephalitis.

-Ear protection if you are planning to be right in the action. Our sense of hearing is a delicate thing. Save the ear cilia!

Most importantly

If you do choose to go see the fireworks, be sure to watch their faces and savor the moment.

You’ll be making precious memories.

Experiencing it for the first time again, through the eyes of your children,

is a moment as a parent that you’ll never forget.

For more wry parenting be sure to check out my experience taking my kids to church or what it’s like putting six kids into a car.

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  1. Samantha of Mother Haggard says:

    Oh man. I need like an Anxious Parents’ Guide to Fireworks. I LIKE the idea of them, but my anxiety levels tend to spike at people messing around with explosives at the park. I think my daughter and even my dog wouldn’t be frightened of them, just me. Anxious Mom Life is the BEST! (*sob*) 😉

    I will totally suck it up and try your tips, however, just so I can wear a glow necklace. I don’t get to do that nearly as much as I’d like to.

    1. Legitimate question, is there a big fireworks holiday in Canada? These are things I need to know. Canada day maybe? The glow necklaces are pretty bomb. For the kids… not me, I’m obviously not that easily amused. Ok, I am. Gosh. Am I that transparent!?

  2. Hillary Hood says:

    We are so lucky in that we live on a hill and the fireworks aren’t loud and you can see a solid 10 surrounding shows. So what you need to do so that you don’t have to panic about noise is get your hubby to bring in like 10,000 truck loads of dirt. Create one of the tallest points in the area and then you can see surrounding shows with no travel (except the hike up said hill). Also, perfect for mud pies, mud fights, and a toy grave yard. I think I solved your problem. (NOT)

    1. Ooh, only 10000 truckloads you say? I think that oughta do it. Ironically, this year the boys were asleep when it was fireworks time and they had been up since the buttcrack of dawn, so we decided to let them sleep. Turns out we can see the city fireworks from their bedroom window because we live on a ridgetop! So I woke them up to see if they wanted to watch the fireworks and we all stood in their room and watched from the window. It was pretty sweet 🙂

      1. Hillary Hood says:

        Unplanned moments tend to stick around the longest. 😊

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