Once upon a time, not terribly long ago, I dreaded the 4th of July. The fireworks lit by idiot neighbors hell bent on setting our house on fire, the fireworks lit by certain unnamed individuals who very nearly blew themselves up as they stood over fireworks lit by other certain unnamed individuals (and for once it wasn't me!), the loud booming, the smoke, the residue that thickly coated everything on our street.
No, that hasn't changed. There are still people on our street who think fireworks safety involves pointing the roman candle up in the air and holding it IN THEIR HANDS as they light it. Our street is littered with casings and only a few body parts. Ash has coated my van in fine gray film.
What has changed is that I now have my very own drug dealer. Someone I hold very dear for they have made it possible to actually leave my house on 4th of July and enjoy the neighbors injuries in person without worrying that our overgrown lap dog has hurled himself through a window in an effort to rescue us from the Smoke! and the Noise! and My G-d Don't These Humans Know They Are In DANGER????
Yes, our lovable brute of Dog has one true fear. Fireworks.
He paces and cries. He buries his head under the bed and whines. He hides in the bathtub and howls. And should we dare to attempt to leave the house and put ourselves in such close proximity to the danger, well. He feels morally obligated to protect us from ourselves.
We realized this the year we left a window open and he jumped through the screen to 'save' us.
So now we happily sedate him. And because of where we live, we must do this for several days. He spends about 4 to 5 days happily wandering through the house in a daze. I imagine it to be like taking care of a very stoned old man. He stumbles and pants. His eyes go from being ridiculously wide open to all squinty and bloodshot. If he is not quite where you left him, simply follow the trail of drool to the kitchen where you will find him looking rather forlornly at the pantry where all the good trash is. Also? Cookies. Human cookies. Also? The staring. At nothing. Yesterday I found him in the hallway staring at the nightlight. I snapped my fingers, called his name, waved food in his general direction but he didn't budge. Just drooled.
Yesterday we spent a large portion of our time laughing at our inebriated dog (as he was sadly the only inebriated one in our house) and trying to confine Hurricane to his own body.
Yesterday was also the day I realized just how different my two children will be.
My dear Girl. She and Dog have much in common. We had to physically carry her off the porch. She wouldn't go near the sparklers much less actually hold one.
In fact, I think her exact words were Are you insane? I'm not touching that and you can't make me lunatic!
I suggested that she go inside and watch from under the bed as Dog often did but she did finally, albeit reluctantly, join us.
She cried. A lot. At first anyway.
By the end though, she actually held a sparkler. Granted it had already been lit for awhile and it only had a few seconds left. Also, she held t as far away from her body as possible and looked as though she may drop it and run at any second. But she did it. And I was proud of her.
Hurricane. Geez. That kid went ape shit. He didn't know whether to sit, stand, or dance. So he did all three. All night.
He pointed and his body shook.
Whoa!!!! OOOOOOOO!!!! WOWWOWWOW!
We had to hold onto him at one point to keep him from running into the street and grabbing the fountain of fireworks our neighbor had set off. He wanted so desperately to hold the pretty lights.
He turned and twisted, craning his neck to see everything being set off. He was in awe.
By the end of our night he was in arms, his head resting against mine. The people who live behind us set off their grand finale and as we watched the sky light up in purple, red, blue and green, Hurricane whispered wow, so softly. I think that summed it all up for him perfectly.
Today as we left the house he lifted his face to the sky in search of those pretty lights he loved so much. When there was no grand show, he hunched his shoulders, raised his arms palms up, bent at the elbows and simply asked where the boo?
Girl simply breathed. Relief. She has 364 days before she will once again be wishing she was Dog.