I’m a fireworks fan.
Give me a clear night, a cold drink, and something sparkly in the sky, and I’m all set.
When I was in college, I even took a class about the history and development of pyrotechnic devices, because I’m a nerd who also likes to have a blast.
Obviously, I wanted to pass this love along to my child.
Four summers ago, my child was due on July 4. I remember sitting on a blanket in a field near my house, watching the city’s Independence Day display and rubbing my belly. Each boom seemed to reverberate through me, and the baby acknowledged them with a series of kicks. I couldn’t wait for my son to make his debut and experience the fireworks with his own eyes.
The following July 4th, I was tired. My almost-1-year-old dozed in his crib, and I was just happy to have a sleeping child. I didn’t dare disturb him.
But last year? It was on.
My son was already asleep by the time it was dark enough for the celebration to begin. So I woke him up, and I carried him to the field near my house – the field where I once waited and dreamed and hoped for my own little sparkler. With every rocket that whistled into the sky and burst into magnificent spiderwebs of glimmering light, my child
wailed. howled. screamed his tiny head off.
He wasn’t having any part of these fireworks, no matter how attractive I tried to make them.
“Look at the colors!” I said.
“GAAAHHHHHH!” he said.
“Look at the lights!”
“It’s so sparkly!”
I couldn’t understand it. Don’t kids love things like this? Aren’t fireworks fun?
It’s only now, as I am making plans for this year’s festivities, that I have realized the error of my ways: Things that go boom are scary.
Sure, fireworks can be glorious for those of us who have a little experience navigating the world. But for the new little ones among us, it’s terrifying to be taken out of bed, dragged outside – sleepy and disoriented – and see explosives.
Hi, mom of the year here.
This time around, I’ve been talking to my son about fireworks and I showed him a couple of videos, getting him excited about the possibility of seeing them in real life. But I still haven’t decided if we’re going to make a point of going outside to see them or not. It doesn’t matter to me so much anymore. I’ve watched a lot of fireworks before, and I will again.
But spending time with my child – keeping him happy and content and feeling safe in the world? That’s what really gets me fired up.
This post was originally published in June, 2017.