I spent a few years growing up in the small horse town of Norco California. There were more dirt paths than sidewalks and a horse hitch outside of the fast food joints. Every year the Norco County fair would set up in the deserted field on the end of the main street. It seemed as if it materialized over night with it’s crickedy ferris wheel, rows of booths and whirling rides invading the space. For days and days the lights would flash, the rides would spin and the air was thick with the sickly sweet smells of carnival treats.
Then, it was over. You wake up one morning and the quiet unassuming yellow field lies beaten down with only a few scraps of trash rustling in the wind to remind you that something magical was there.
The fifth of July in the church parking lot feels a lot like that. There is still evidence that a party transpired and delicious BBQ, classic potato salad and amazing red, white and blue desserts were consumed. The burnt spots on the ground reminding me that children were ecstatic to hold sparkling fire torches and the adults were delighted to hand them over. The fountain spewed sparks and tiny flower like bursts of colorful fireworks that mimicked their big brother fireworks (i.e. the illegal ones). Everyone (around 80 people) applauded as the last, the biggest, the loudest and the longest fountain that was lit.
I watched my boys play together with the special nostalgic eyes of motherhood and thought back to the early days when fireworks were too loud and scary for them. This year, Justin was allowed to light the last big fountain (the grand finale’) and it felt like a rite of passage to him. Near the end of the night, Kyle sat on my lap and he barely fits anymore, his long legs dangling to the floor over mine.
Then, it is over. We wake up to a quiet parking lot an empty fireworks booth and bits of trash strewn here and there that refuses to stay in the overflowed trash cans.
Now we work to clean up, move home and get settled back into our normal life. Who am I kidding? My life is not normal. Of course, a normal life is never something I have really ever wanted.
Happy fifth of July.