Our Fourth of July weekend began Friday evening with Cul-de-Sac of Fire (Sing this in your head with an imaginary hair/metal band screaming on a couple of electric guitars.) It’s an annual tradition with my neighbors where we all drag camp chairs, explosives, and young children outside to the circle and light it up.
Jack was in heaven. I got the feeling that he felt we should be doing this every night, always, because it was just the right amount of sensory input for his mental well-being. Jack simply needs a neighborhood fireworks display in front of our house every single night of the whole year, guys. No biggie.
We also hosted a few cousins Friday night, bringing the number of boys at my house to EIGHT. It was an hours-long gaming war in the basement, and of course everyone went to bed waaay too late.
Saturday morning, I cooked hash browns, sausage, pancakes, and eggs in vast cafeteria amounts and fed the troops.
Before we left home for my parents’ house, Dutch said, “We are forgetting something. I know it.”
When we arrived at the pool, we found out what it was we forgot—Jack’s swimsuit, a wet-suit type affair that he keeps on in the pool because it’s hard to take off. I put some old swim trunks of my dad’s on him, which he rejected because they were wrong, duh.
So with cousins and neighbors all around, Jack loped around the backyard—a gleaming white nudist, while Dutch and I tried to corral him. We tried a different set of trunks. He allowed it for roughly five minutes.
The thing about autism is when you forget something and have to be flexible and change things around, just know that it doesn’t ever work. Forgotten items or changed plans are a disaster unfolding before your eyes, and that’s the way it is.
We left the pool and made our way to Grandma Joyce’s cabin for dinner, where Jack ate Otter Pops nonstop for two hours. He also rocked in the porch rocker and made the Little Tikes engine whistle on repeat. He has loved that train since he was a toddler.
July 4th has always been kind of an ordeal for me because it happens in the summertime, which is our chaos season. This year it was manageable. Tiring, but pretty good. It is a rare, satisfying thing to compare ourselves to years past and see that it’s better. Still messy, but a lot less awful to live with.
And I can’t feel too much animosity for a holiday that gives me brats and watermelon, baked beans and homemade ice cream. Summer wearies me, but I can still appreciate it for it’s really good parts.