Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4th--#NaBloPoMo

I have memories of Fourth of July celebrations when I was a little girl.

Our family belonged to a local club, and each year it hosted a day of activities which culminated in a night time firework display. Those were the days of freedom, you know. The days when kids could walk outside and play in the neighborhood without parents knowing their exact whereabouts.

I remember spending much of our July 4th days free as birds (or so we thought), running with our friends and siblings at the club. We participated in contests (or not), played, swam and ate picnic food until, deliriously exhausted from the activities, we sat on the grass in joyful anticipation of a booming firework show against the night sky.

Those are my memories, anyway.

One July 4, eleven years ago, I went into labor with our first child. Although I was not all that young, I was very naive regarding what my husband and I were about to face for the rest of our lives as parents. Breathing through the growing contractions, I could hear the sound of booming fireworks off in the distance outside our bedroom window.

Today, my children have yet to see a firework display.

Heck, they can't even handle a parade--noises, crowds and all that can't be controlled run rampant at such things. For them, events like these have been torture their entire lives. The outside world, amidst its gleeful celebration, cannot understand why.

Oh, my husband and I tried to participate in traditional celebrations when the boys were very young. After all, we wanted to re-live our memories through our kids. Don't we all want to re-live our memories and to witness the same happiness on the faces of our children that we once felt?

It didn't take long for us to see that our kids simply did not feel happy at celebrations like these. Their already heightened sensory systems became assaulted on every front. They covered their ears. They cried. They melted into puddles on the ground.

We've made a lot of mistakes with our kids, but we were not foolish enough to think that a firework show would go over well.

Every year, as I sit in our home having passed another holiday under-recognized, I listen to the booming sound of the distant fireworks, and I remember what it was like for me as a child. Then, I wonder what they will remember of their childhood.

I feel a constant challenge of just how to create full lives for our kids with needs--how to participate in celebrating even when, as a family, we can't take part in celebrations.

For now, we take it one holiday at a time, with the attempt to add one smile at a time. Perhaps one day soon, viewing fireworks won't be a distant memory.

NaBloPoMo wanted to hear our childhood Fourth of July memories. I accepted the challenge, and am so far, I mean, blogging... my way through the month of July.


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  1. Ah, your childhood memories of the holiday sound absolutely idyllic. Holidays are wahtever we make them as a family. I think you'll be surprised at what your boys look back on in their childhoods. There are special times in the making that you aren't even aware of that is having an impact on them. It's those that carrythe oh's and ah's that come along with a fireworks display. Hoe there is a speicial (or at least peaceful) moment or two in the day for all of you.

  2. I would have never known the horror of holidays without this wonderfully and lovingly done blog of yours. I view so many things differently now and I find that I rethink some things that used to be kind of routine to me. I feel so much of what you live because of your ability to share and show me your life. I have grown to love you and your boys without ever laying eyes or ears on you. I have done that through your written words and what a wonderful gift you have given me. Compassion, Empathy and a genuine need to be part of making a difference for someone.
    You are constantly helping those angels grow and assimilate as much as they can or want to and always with nothing more in your mind than "what can I do to make this better for them" and that is all I need to know to respect and adore you.
    Happy Independence day and one day, maybe those guys will actually have that because you laid all this majorly important ground work one day and one smile at a time.