The Fourth of July As a child I remember fondly the Fourth of July, it was exciting and fun. I remember the anticipation of darkness; it was almost as much fun as the fireworks. Now I am an adult, and I struggle to enjoy the holiday. It seems that the Fourth of July as a child was fun and exciting, but as I grow older the fun and excitement is slipping away. From the moment I woke up in the morning, I could not wait until nightfall. The holiday does not really begin until darkness. Fireworks were legal in the early to mid 1970 s when I was growing up and I could not wait to set them off. Although we would be having a party, I would continue to ask my mother repeatedly when is it going to be dark out? and can we just light the snakes now? Eventually she would get frustrated with our insistence and give in to our demands. She would let us light the snakes. The snakes were sort of stupid, but we did not care, we were just excited that we could light something. The Fourth of July is my Grandmothers birthday so the entire family would gather at my house and we would have a huge party. However, in my opinion the fun did not begin until it was dark outside. The whole family would gather outside in front of the house and we would begin to light the fireworks. Each family would bring their own fireworks, so there were a lot. I was to young to light the fireworks so my sister and father did most of them. I was allowed to light the sparklers, and I recall how I felt so grown up. I would enjoy watching them; I remember how beautiful the colored fire was. The whole neighborhood was outside in their front yards on this exciting night. It was like a giant block party and everyone was in the street having a wonderful time. This was the only night of the year that this would happen. When the fireworks were over, I felt like we had really celebrated. I could smell the odor of smoke and fire on my clothes and hair until I showered, which was usually not until the next day. I was reminded of the previous night of fun just by the odor alone. In the morning, there was a lot of cleanup to be done outside. Not only did we have party cleanup, but also there were burnt up fireworks to be disposed of. We also had to scrub the sidewalk where the burnt stains remained from our night of fire fun. This did not seem to be a horrible chore; it was just an extension of the holiday. During the cleanup process, I would pretend that it was the Fourth of July all over again. I remember these days as if it were yesterday.
Now I am an adult and I do not feel the same sense of anticipation for nightfall as I did when I was a child. I no longer wait anxiously for darkness; instead, my day just goes by at a normal pace. I do not even think about the holiday until my children ask about it. They of course ask me repeatedly when is it going to be dark out? driving me crazy until nightfall. When darkness falls the excitement finally begins. the public fireworks show. I feel like the Fourth of July is a chore. Because fireworks are no longer, legal I have to go to the park to view the show. It is a hassle to go to the park, because you have to park many blocks away. Once you find a parking spot then you have to carry the picnic supplies all the way to the park. Finally, you have to find a good place to sit. It is important to get a good spot, because you need to be able to view the fireworks without the trees getting in the way. Once we have settled in, I then must watch my kids like a hawk, because with so many people in the park I fear they may get lost. The benefit to this entire hassle is the joy on the face of my children during the fireworks show. That alone is makes the whole day worthwhile. When the short half-hour show is over, I do not feel like I have celebrated. I no longer have the chance to reflect on the beautiful fireworks. All I seem to be thinking about is the long walk to the car with all of the picnic supplies and two very tired children. The only remnant of the fireworks is the smell of smoke for about 60 seconds after the show. Although I enjoyed lighting fireworks as a child, I am grateful that we have laws that prohibit the use of fireworks. The health and safety of my children always come before fun. Although I enjoy celebrating the Fourth of July with my children, it will never be as fun and exciting, as it was when I was a child.