Remember last year when at the spur of the moment Steve and I decided to take our sons to Evanston beach to watch the fireworks?
But it left a real impression on our sons. In their minds, it is our official 4th of July tradition. New to me. But Elijah and Finn built it up to epic proportions. They simply HAD to go to the beach this year.
Fine by me. But there was a small wrinkle. We weren’t going to be in Evanston this year. We decided to visit Diana’s family in the Western suburbs, a good, non holiday hour a way. But Diana and Elijah weren’t sweating it. They assumed we’d make it back in plenty of time before dark to see the fireworks.
Not me. I ain’t wired that way. In a classic Rick Hamann neurosis attack, I was sure we wouldn’t make it back in time. This panic hit me well before the fireworks were set to launch.
“Guys, let’s finish up our burgers. If we leave now, we’ll just make it back in time to hit the beach, give or take 9 hours. Guys? Guys? Let’s put our plates down.”
I nervously cracked my knuckles while the rest of my normal family frolicked in the pool, chatted and strolled through a nearby carnival through the afternoon.
Much later, when the clock stuck 6, I calculated 2 hours to make it. I ruined a perfectly good cookout dinner declaring if were even going to have remote chance of making it, we had to leave, like, right now.
Eli supported me, mostly because he was finished eating.
After a harrowing drive home, we made it to Evanston with an hour to spare. We drove towards the beach and as soon as it even remotely became congested, I threw open the car door and forced Elijah to dive roll out so we could walk the rest of the way.
I dragged him to the beach so swiftly he complained of side stitch. But we made it, and met my brother in plenty of time.
We waded our way through the crush of humanity and found a perfect spot. Elijah and Finn were incredibly spazzy and amped up in anticipation of the fireworks, so I felt 1% vindicated for my craziness.
The sun set and the glow stick salesmen were out in force. To make up for my pushiness, I bought the kids each one. Eli’s burned out immediately and Finn traded sticks out of kindness.
Finally, finally the first firework exploded in the Evanston night sky. Elijah turned to me and said, “I have to go to the bathroom. It’s an emergency.”
“What? If we walk to the bathroom, we’ll miss the fireworks.”
“It’s an emergency!”
I sighed and lead him through, over and under the crowd. We visited the bathroom and listened to the rockets red glare.
Truthfully, we made it back in plenty of time to see the show. And I think it was worth it.