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Parents: How To Have Fun On the Fourth of July Or Die Trying

tips for parents determined to have fun on the 4th of July - or die trying - by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

The Fourth of July has long been my absolute favorite holiday. You get tons of food, the pressure-free option to hang out with friends or family or no one at all, there's built-in entertainment, and it's one of the few holidays where I don't have to buy anyone a present. Quadruple score.

But as I was perusing the photo archives on Ol' Rusty (my computer), I realized something. The HTV household Fourth of July standards have been slipping lately, and I blame the kids.

I know—they enjoy the excitement, the celebration, the excuse to stay up way past their bedtimes while consuming twice their own body weight in junk food. Who doesn't?

"Mommy, we're all out of blue sugar.
Can I eat all the other flavors of sugar now?"

But what about the things I enjoy about the Fourth of July? How am I supposed to stay up late porking out on hamburgers, drinking beer, and exploding things, when I have to be all responsible (she said in a whiny voice)? The authorities expect me to be concerned about whether or not the kids step on hot sparkler stems, or get malaria from all the mosquitoes, or handle live explosives, or overdose on whatever the heck is in hot dogs, and from what I understand they're pretty serious about it.
Authorities: Ma'am, did you know we found your children four houses down, covered head to toe in ice cream and trying to set slices of pickle on fire?

Me (ketchup drizzling out of the corner of my stuffed mouth): HUmmmphh?

Authorities: Are we to understand that you were unaware they snuck into the cooler and each chugged fourteen fully caffeinated sodas, turned on the hose and dared each other to play Slip-N-Slide in the grass without proper Slip-N-Slide equipment, lit an entire box of sparklers at once without supervision, and then declared they were bored because there was nothing to do?

Me: I'm sorry, sir, there must be a misunderstanding. I don't have any children.
It's sort of a buzz kill to be hauled off for neglect when I'm just getting ready to enjoy the Big Major Impressive Fireworks Finale.

Several years ago the kids wanted to see something bigger than our lame-o-la backyard bottle rocket assortment, so we staked out a great spot (the parking lot of an abandoned factory) to see our town's fireworks display. We got there just in time to set up our chairs, settle in, and give ourselves a hearty pat on the back for our planning skills and impeccable timing.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

There's surprisingly little for kids to do in the parking lot of an abandoned factory when you won't let them play on stacks of rotting wooden pallets. Not only did I wear myself out chasing them off tetanus hazards and watching out for discarded hypodermic needles, I couldn't pass the time in my favored style because there were disappointingly few beer and soft pretzel vendors in our increasingly creepy and deserted neck of the woods.

To add insult to injury, by the time the explosions started the kids were super over it and just wanted to go home.

"Pyrotechnics are bo-ring."

However, please note that I have a stupid smile on my face in this photo as I mentally block out the kids' complaints, not to mention that I just noticed I was wearing Zoe's plastic tiara. That goes to show how hard I like to party on the Fourth.

Because I love fireworks. There's something romantic and amazing and beautiful about them, a quality that I'd like to point out is strangely absent if they're set off on any other day of the year, when they're instead considered an annoyance that fills me with murderous rage (I'm looking at you, stupid neighbors).
But I digress.
Anyway, my point is that the children and their pesky need for me to help them stay alive through the holiday have been seriously cramping my Fourth of July style the past few years. So this year, come Hell or high water or kids choking on red, white, and blue Bomb Pops, I'm making myself some holiday promises.
I will see fireworks this year.
I will do it far from a location where the children will be tempted to treat teetering stacks of parking lot debris like playground equipment.
I will eat some form of meat that tastes vaguely of charcoal and sulfurous smoke, and I will wash it down with a beer no matter how many times my son tells me he thinks it's weird when women drink beer. (WHAT IS UP WITH THAT, ANYWAY???)

I will not think about West Nile Virus. I will convince the children that mosquito bites are patriotic, and that every time a kid whines about being itchy, a bald eagle dies.
I will give myself a free pass to not care one iota if they get any real nutrition all day. 
I will sit with my husband's arm around me while I ooh and ahh like an 8-year-old at the booms and dancing lights in the sky. We'll put our hands over the toddler's ears; I will not worry about permanent hearing loss. We'll yell at the kids not to chase each other in the yard while they're eating pointy foods and throwing Snap Pops at each other. They'll ignore us. I won't care.
Because I'm going to have fun this year, or we're all going to die trying.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


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