This year, 2009, I finally convinced my husband to accompany my son and I to a fireworks display; the usual event down by the Minneapolis riverfront. He hates fireworks; hates loud noises of all types, and dislikes crowds, and especially traffic. But he has not seen a fireworks display with me since before our son was born, and now that Harper is five and starting to lose his fear of so many things, there was genuine excitement about the possibility of seeing the fireworks this year -- once again I found myself making careful inquiries of the husband. Would he go? Would he at least drop us off and pick us up later? And without too much arm-twisting, he agreed. We found a decent parking space a half mile from the river, and a bridge over a rail line that afforded a decent view. Bug-sprayed and tentative, "ear muffs" at the ready (a pair of cushioned protective earphones given to Harper by his uncle Mark earlier today), my son waited expectantly for the fireworks to begin. Some nearby chumps shooting off bottle rockets above the small crowd made him nervous, but after donning his earmuffs he was game for the rest of the evening, smiling at the patterns and colors he liked, ascribing names to the various types of shells (always the cataloguer, my son.) It was a good time. And we escaped bad traffic on the way back out as well. Did I take a picture? No. I did not.
Happy 4 july -- a date on a calendar, a box with a number in it, reminding us that to be American is a gift and a privilege we haven't really earned.