When I think of the 4th of July I think about sleeping in. Then you get up and put up your American flag up. After that you just chill out until nightfall when you light off a few fireworks.

But when one of the first things I heard was, ” I peed in the tub”, I knew the day would be a bit different.

Forget the pee in the tub. We had a parade to get to. It’s a neighborhood parade-the kids get to ride their bikes in it.

This was the 4th year for us to be in the parade, and each year is just as stressful as the last. First, the boys’ bikes need to be decorated. Thankfully my husband has those skills. We needed to meet at the staging are by 8:30. That would be fine, but I insist that we drive one of our cars to the park where the parade ends. I just want to be prepared for a quick exit. You know, sick kid, bad weather, a major meltdown.

I check my watch. Showtime. The flier said meet at the school a few blocks away at 8:30. No problem. Except that it was 8:25. We get to the school at 8:35. What the…? They have already left. Just like last year. I mean how the hell do they get 100 kids lined up and on the go on time?

So…I spend the next 15 minutes chasing my boys who are chasing the parade. As I run all I can think of is why did I choose to wear these sandals with that thong thing in them, man I’m out of shape, and why does this feel like deja vu?

Finally we catch up with the parade. It’s actually cool to see. There’s babies in decorated strollers, dogs with patriotic collars, toddlers pulling their red wagons. And bikes-lots of bikes all covered with all things 4th of July. And our boys are grinning those big I’m-so happy- I get- to ride -in -this -parade- grins.
Never mind that there is this recurring situation of me calling out ahead to them, “Boys slow down!” That is followed by them turning around and asking, “What?”, which is sometimes followed by them accidentally running over the heels of other parade-goers. There were lots of banged up heels that day.

We make our way to the park and seek out a place to sit. By 10:00 we have all had ice cream, soda and a hot dog. Our kids are full and on a nice sugar high.

Ahhh. one parade down one to go. This year our boss told us we each had to be in a local parade for the holiday.

We load up the car and I tell my husband directions. The wrong ones. Oops. We rush to the staging area only to find out I am at the end of the parade, so I still have 45 minutes to wait. Nice.

The parade was cool. A local Corvette Club volunteered to drive us. I rode in a Stingray. People were shouting from the curbside, “Hey what year is that?” I would reply “The car is a’69 -I’m a ’68 !” In the St. Patty’s Day parade I was told the cars were only for “television celebrities.” Bite me. Sorry. And now this time I was out shined by a damn car.

All went well until I had to exit the car. As I crawled out, I ripped my pants! For the love of…so now I am at the end of the parade in some remote part of a suburb I am not familiar with covering my ass with the sign that proudly displays my name. Luckily some guy in another corvette offers me a ride back to my car.

I meet up with Charles and the boys. I tell him about my pants. We were planning to go to our friend, Terry’s house for a picnic, but my husband though it would be unclassy to show up with a huge rip in my pants.

I do a quick change at the house and we head to Terry’s house. Amazing! He has this huge spread, corn bread, ribs, chicken, and every kind of salad you can imagine. Don’t even get me started on the desserts. Of course my boys are excited to see that he and his wife have a yard full of toys-even a bouncy pit.

Se we eat and drink and have a really good time. Then 2 adorable girls said that one of our boys was being naughty. I have found that girls are very proficient at tattling, but this is tag teaming! Bummer. That just eliminated 2 potential daughter-in laws.

Back at home my husband starts off our mini fireworks show. Virtually everything is illegal and I kept yelling out the window, “You know my friend at work said the fines are up to $1000 dollars!” I decided to stay in and lie on the couch.

Within 15 minutes I see my youngest darting through the living room up stairs. I assumed he was sent in to get something fro my husband. Until I heard him shrieking, “I’m burning! I’m burning!” At this point it’s like a bad dream where I try to run but it feels like slow motion.

I make it to the bathroom to find him with tears running down his face and his hand under running water. I look at his hand. There is blister on his thumb and his index finger. Yep-he grabbed a sparkler where his Dad told him not to. He was fine, but that was kinda buzkill for any more things that emit fire for now.

I’m not really sure how that day ended. I know the boys fell asleep quickly, my husband was comfortable in his man area of the couch, and it was peaceful. Yes, Happy4th of July. Happy life.