Wednesday, June 1, 2016

That's Just The Way It Is

Over the weekend we received our first 4th of July party invite. As with years prior, we had to decline. All 3 of our kids have reactions to 4th of July noises. Sophie is absolutely terrified. It doesn't matter if it's gigantic shooting sparklers or hardcore fireworks. Some of our neighbors celebrate with a variety and the festivities begin in the afternoon and extend past midnight. Coco paces. He gets nervous. Lobo's anxiety blows through the roof. His ears go back and he shakes.

This year, the 4th lands on a Monday. For us, that translates to staying home the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd and the 9th and 10th. We get all of our errands and grocery shopping done beforehand. Once we're home, we stay put. When the bulk of the festivities around us begin, we sit on the sofa with the kids, pop in a movie and comfort the kids.

We don't attend public firework displays, parties or backyard barbecues. Do I miss attending 4th of July festivities? Of course I do. Do I sit around and mope both weekends because we're "stuck at home?" Nope. I don't.

A lot of people have suggested alternatives for calming the kids during 4th of July festivities.

"You should try them so you and Lisa can get out and enjoy yourselves."

Last year, someone suggested we get ThunderShirts for all of our kids, give them each a dose of natural calming serum and be on our way.

"They'll be fine. Put on some music or the TV to drown out the noise."

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmkay. No.

While I appreciate the suggestions, there isn't an ounce of my being that would leave our kids home alone during this time. We go so far as to frequently check the weather. If they're predicting storms, or if there is one on the way, we stay home.

Almost 2 years ago, in late June, when Sophie joined our family, we quickly realized just how terrified she was of fireworks and thunderstorms. When she heard either, she would shake and hide under the bed, bureau, or any other tiny nook she could fit her body in. I lost count how many times Lisa or I would lay on the floor trying to coax her out.

After months of doing this, and the next round of warm weather thunderstorms and fireworks last summer, she trusted us. Instead of scampering around to find a secluded hiding spot, she ran to us. If I was at my desk, she'd run to the spot under my desk and curl up between my feet. If we were on the sofa, she'd jump on our lap. If we were standing up, she'd lay on top of our feet.

All of our kids have come to trust us with their fears. When they're afraid, they run to wherever we are. They know to come to us for comfort. Why in the world would we jeopardize that? I can't even imagine the thought of our kids coming to us for comfort and not being able to find us because we took off to attend a 4th of July party.

I really can't. It'll never happen.

Most people understand. Some don't. Either way, it is what is is. We don't budge. Whether you're a parent to human kids or fur-kids, life changes when you have kids. You miss out on stuff you'd otherwise be able to attend without a second thought.

That's just the way it is.

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