I'm pretty sure ever since the kids were born, we never took the kids to see fireworks on July 4th. The first time they saw fireworks was at Disneyland and it was not exactly a fantastic experience for them. Explosions above them, blaring sound speakers to the left, and a grumpy Daddy to the right does not add up the happiest experience on Main Street.
This year, I knew the kids were getting close to the age of enjoying fireworks, but figured we would wait another year or two before we did the whole grass lawn camp out thing. But after we brushed the kids' teeth, Emma said, "I want to see fireworks."
"We are!" I exclaimed. "On NBC at 9:30pm Pacific Standard Time!"
"No!" stomped Emma. "I want to see fireworks outside."
I tried to figure out if I had a long enough extension cord to drag the television outside, but Emma and Lisa made pouty faces. And as for Andrew, he made a poopy face -- a little constipated again. The softy I am, I relented and told everyone to get ready to jump into the car to see fireworks.
After doing a quick Google search, I found out that there was a free fireworks show in Woodland Hills -- a mere 12 miles away. But I knew that every time we've taken this trip from the shopping mall, the kids would fall asleep. My game plan was to drive slowly to Woodland Hills, the kids would fall asleep in the car, I'd return home, and watch Al Roker oooh and aaah at fireworks.
As I slowly drove to Woodland Hills, there was one thing that I did not take into account: late night hyper goofiness. Andrew and Emma were as goofy and excited as could be in their car seats. Despite my casual cruising speed, we made it Woodland Hills with almost everyone awake -- old timer Lisa took a quick nap in the car.
Obviously I was not the only one who thought of this last minute trek because the off-ramp and streets were crowded with cars. My next hope was to fool the kids into thinking the fireworks might have finished, but observant Andrew said, "No! Look! People dere and dere and dere!"
My plan to avoid fireworks was crumbling minute after minute. My next hope was to just drive around a little bit so the kids could look at the fireworks from the car. As soon as the fireworks began to go off, the kids started screaming, "I want to get out! I want to get out!" The last time I remember someone being so adamant about getting out was my senior prom date inside our limo.
I pulled into the Electronic Fry's parking lot and lugged the kids out to the street. From a distance, we were able to see fireworks reflected in the windows of tall office buildings. The kids were pretty excited to see the skies lit up without the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song blared into their ears.
After five or ten minutes, the kids were getting cold so we packed it up and started to drive home. I told them that if they were still awake when we returned home, we could watch some fireworks on television. Andrew fell asleep right away, but Emma tried really hard to stay awake. You should've seen her downing those Jolt sodas.
Upon arriving home, Lisa carried Andrew straight to bed. But as I pulled Emma out of the car, she woke up and whispered to me that she wanted to watch more fireworks. So I turned on the television, and she and I cuddled together watching a little bit of the Macy's fireworks.
And as I decompressed with her at my side, I realized two things: 1) How wonderful it can be to have a family and re-experience your own life through the eyes of your child, and 2) how absolutely kickass fireworks can look on a big screen HD television set. Just...wow.