Ever since our first child was born, my husband and I haven't seen a single firework on Fourth of July. Our daughter and son are always in bed before the sky gets dark enough. And after spending a long, hot day chasing after our children, my husband and I are too exhausted to stay up. We usually drift asleep to the faint sounds of nearby fireworks.
This year, since our children are almost 3 and 4, we thought we might make it to the "Celebrate America" show at Shoreline on July 3rd. At the very least, we thought we could drive close enough to view the fireworks from our car.
But after another long, hot day and dinner in downtown with friends, no one had enough energy to make it happen that night. It seemed like my family was going to experience yet another Fourth of July devoid of any traditions or celebrations.
Fortunately, when we moved to Mountain View, we chose to live in a neighborhood that celebrated a different kind of Fourth of July tradition. And this one didn't interfere with anyone's bed time.
For the last 11 years, the Whisman Station neighborhood has had a Fourth of July parade. Children of all ages decorate their bikes, trikes and scooters and ride together around the neighborhood. And this year, my family got to be a part of it.
At 9:30 am, we went outside and covered Josie's scooter and Owen's wagon with red, white and blue decor. At 10:00 am neighbors started showing up. And by 10:30 am the parade began. We were led all over the neighborhood by a white Prius, adorned with a flag and equipped with a stereo system playing patriotic tunes.
My children were all smiles as they rode around the neighborhood with their friends. People came out of their houses to wave and cheer. Josie and Owen felt like celebrities.
It was such a wonderful way to celebrate Fourth of July in our new neighborhood. It made me feel less guilty about depriving my children of the typical fireworks celebration.
As far as Josie and Owen were concerned, today was "the best Fourth of July ever". It was the first Fourth of July that we celebrated as part of a community. And I feel so fortunate that we chose to live in a community that makes the day special - instead of just the night.