blog:Fireworks displays spark memories |

blog:Fireworks displays spark memories

JoAnn Chaney
Vail CO, Colorado
JoAnn Chaney

My parents never took me to a Fourth of July fireworks display.


Thanks for the tissue and your obvious sympathy.

Really, I was always desperate to go to a fireworks display when I was a kid. It didn’t help that my parents lived less than five miles away from the park where our city set them off, and it certainly didn’t make me feel better to watch them distantly explode over the countless roofs of the city. If we squinted and looked really hard at the night sky, they looked pretty. Kind of. You also had to use some imagination, of course.

“This is even better than going to the park for the fireworks.” My father would tell my siblings and me as he lit our tired sparklers. “No crowds, no driving. And you get to go right to bed after they’re over.”

That was a lie and we all knew it. I wanted to hear the fireworks explode in my ears, feel the heat of the embers on my face, sense the excitement of the crowd.

When I became a mother, I promised myself that I would always make these sorts of events a priority.

My kids will never miss trick-or-treating, no matter what the weather is like.

We will always go out and hunt for Easter eggs.

My kids will get to see the fireworks up close and personal every year.

I broke my promise.

Someone told me that the fireworks display over Nottingham Lake is one of the best in the nation, a show that every resident should see at least once. I would love to see them”there is nothing better than sitting in the dark and watching those sparkly lights shooting up in to the sky”but my kids and I won’t be there this year.

Instead we will be at home, eating hamburgers off the grill and going to bed right on schedule. I will enjoy the (relative) peace and quiet of my own home instead of fighting the sweaty crowds at the park. I will celebrate the independence of our country with some independence of my own ” those scant few minutes at night after my boys have gone to sleep and I finally get some time alone.

So, have I become the parent that I vowed never to be?

We—-ll, no. And, yes.

I think that if we did go the fireworks this year, it would just be a disaster. My boys will be cranky(nine forty-five is WAY past their bedtime), and if the boys ain’t happy, mama ain’t happy. I would surely get frustrated battling the crowds and end up spewing profanities behind the wheel of my car. It would be a long night.

I guess my reasoning is: Everyone would give up seeing fireworks to have a sane, happy mother. In my house, at least.

So we’ll miss the fireworks this year. Maybe we’ll go next year. By then, the boys will be older and easier to control. I won’t have to haul around my bulky stroller and bottles of formula. We might be able to have some fun.

So until next year, I’ll just jam some sparklers in my kid’s fists and repeat the words I remember from my childhood:

“This is even better…”

JoAnn Chaney can be reached at

Support Local Journalism