Our city hosts a Fourth of July celebration the Saturday after the holiday. There’s a park within walking distance from our house that hosts a festival and fireworks that we usually go back to our house to watch after going around the festival for a bit. The best thing about it is we no longer have to worry about dealing with traffic going to and from the festival!
After the fireworks show, after we got our two kiddos who were up way later than they usually are to bed, Andy and I looked at each other and took a moment to appreciate that this parenting thing is getting easier and more fun! It was the first time we could remember taking both of them to a festival and not being so overwhelmed with the demands of caring for two children that we were depleted by the time we got home. It was also one of those moments where I reflected that I’m getting what a wanted, a family that has fun together.
Growing up my family did a lot of fun things together and I wanted to replicate that with my own children. I’m not sure if I was simply never aware of the effort my parents put into it, or if by the time I had memories it was simply easier for my parents to enjoy themselves, but thus far a lot of raising children has involved a lot of drudgery. I know some people try to cling to their children’s babyhood. Me, well, I wonder if I will ever get to a point where I wish my children were younger. As it is, I relish every milestone they hit and each measure of independence they gain. I want my children to be independent and I can’t wait till they get old enough to hold conversations! The less I have to do for them the more I can focus on enjoying being with them and getting to know them.
It was exciting to realize that Buddy is now picking up more of what we say and is actually starting to develop some conversational skills. When I said that they were going to ride in the wagon he got excited and started getting dressed on his own. He even understood what I meant when I said we were going to watch fireworks. Unlike some children with autism, Buddy is sensory seeking and likes the noise and crowds of festivals and fireworks. He started chanting, “Boom! Fireworks! Boom!” And lit up when the show started and clapped. Unlike the stereotype of the emotionless child with autism, Buddy was exuberant tonight and had a blast, and his excitement was contagious.
Sissy can finally hold her own on the playground and went down some slides by herself. She’s no longer so small that we worry about her getting trampled by the overzealous big kids and can navigate the playground on her own, even if we do still stay close. She got a bit tired and fussy at the end as she was up way later than she usually is, but when the fireworks show started she was entranced and kept saying, “oh wow!” I don’t think we’ve ever let her stay up to watch the show before, I think one of us always stayed at the house while she slept in the past (Sissy has always been a champion sleeper), so she enjoyed her first show.
It was one of those evenings where you reflected on how things are getting easier, how they are getting older and more fun and that they are making progress, and ended in the tranquility of knowing that I’m building the life I wanted for myself.