The week of the 4th of July seems to be traditionally traditional for most folks. 

I know many people have celebratory potlucks with a particular side of the family, along with traditional fireworks’ viewing place, down to sitting in the same exact spot, drinking the same beer on the same blanket every year. 

Traditions are fantastic. But what happens when you can’t conform to them year after year? 
I’d love to go to my family cottage for our annual family reunion on Lake Michigan every 4th of July, but… life happens… and this year, we have a new nephew to gush all over when we get the opportunity to smother him with love & kisses on the 4th. *teary smile* Delaney is a big sister!!
When you are born into large families like the hubs & I, the likelihood that you’re missing out on something, somewhere is fairly high; it’s impossible to be everywhere at once. Sure, we could try to pack it all in, but when we’ve done that in the past, it’s so stressful that we don’t have nearly as much fun as we do when we commit to one thing. 
Do I feel guilty over being pulled in multiple directions this week, not being able to do everything? 
Of course. I’d love to see as many friends & family as I could… but guilt is a self-imposed emotion, and I will not allow guilt to consume me. I’ve learned to blow-off ignore the judgment from certain people because we can’t do this or that or another thing. 
My kids are my first priority, and I refuse to over-schedule my kids — especially over holidays. 
Think about it. We vow to not over-schedule our kids during the school-year, but hauling them from one place to another, non-stop throughout the course of a few days isn’t good for them either. Or the parents’ sanity, for that matter! And then we end up putting a little too much alcohol on it… and… well… then we have to resist the urge to pass out before the kids! Plus, hangovers at the in-laws are the worst! 
But, the judgments will be thrown our way no matter what we do or don’t do. 
For example, when I told a few people that we wouldn’t be dragging our exhausted family out way past our bedtimes just to watch an hour-long fireworks display with thousands of other cranky kids and drunks blowing off bottle rockets and other now legal fireworks next to our faces… I got a few shocked looks that essentially say… 

“You’re anti-American!” 
Um, no, I just value sleep & sanity. I get that fireworks are fun. I do. And my hometown does put on a fantastic show… but… I just don’t have the urge to fight thousands of people on foot & in my car to impatiently wait to watch shit being blown up. I don’t care how much alcohol I put on the situation, it’s just not worth it to me. 
My family will catch fireworks somewhere at some point this week… and if we don’t, we don’t. 
The beautiful thing about traditions? If you miss out, there’s always next year. 
I hope all of you enjoy a beautiful & relaxing Fourth of July…. however you choose to celebrate it. 

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  1. Posted July 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I drafted a post about being Un-American today because I am not over scheduling my kids this summer. I’m with you!!

    And we hang out in the back yard with sparklers, we tried the downtown fireworks last year but 1) someone got shot and 2) it took us 2 hours go get 1 mile.

    • Posted July 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Ick. I had forgotten about the shooting. And… the post-firework traffic jams DO suck. Before kids, we used to ride our bikes there & back, which was genius… pre-kids. But we don’t live within biking/walking distance of a fireworks’ viewing spot anymore. So, fighting the traffic AFTER sitting through a ton of loud explosions that my kids may or may not cry through? No thanks! I don’t feel we’re depriving our children from much… when it comes down to it.

      Sparklers are always a hit in this family too!! If we were staying in town, I’d totally get together with fellow sparkler-normal-bedtime-families! 😉

  2. Posted July 3, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I am with you too! I just said maybe we could drive to my sister’s on the 14th south of Detroit after we go to our babysitter’s graduation party here. Then I wrote my sister back and said sorry, it will just be too much in one day. It is just too much for all of us. And the fireworks! My stepmother wants us to go to the east side to watch the fireworks on the 7th. My middle child, is so scared of fireworks, even the small ones we do in the backyard. Sure, it’s the 50th anniversary, but why make my children suffer? This would make all of us miserable so it is not worth it at all. Excellent post! A must read for all parents!

    • Posted July 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Your SM was going to make you cross a bridge for the fireworks? Rule #1 when it comes to viewing the BC fireworks: Stay on your side of the river! Isn’t that common knowledge?

      Sedona also has very sensitive ears. We’ve never taken her because of it. Add the BC-level of drunk by the time the fireworks DO start… no thanks. When I was younger, we would park our motor-home in the middle of the craziness, and I witnessed someone getting hit in the face with a bottle-rocket; she was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. I never knew what happened to her… but I spent the rest of that evening in the motor-home I was so scared. 50th anniversary, to me, almost gives permission for 50x more crazies. I’d prefer to be in my own bed that night instead of fighting chaos with my exhausted family… We’re not Un-American… we’re just… smart. ;D

  3. Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Traditions are wonderful and I try to keep them up but as you age, your family ages and adds to some traditions have to given up to work with the new family dynamics.

    I hate fireworks and always have. Mainly because of the cost and the boom-boom, but as of a few years ago, because The Hubby ended up in the ICU burn unit on a vent for three days after a fireworks accident!

    Still hang our flag though, proudly!

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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