I’m scared of fireworks. I like them, but I’m scared of them. So when my brother-in-law decided to host his own private fireworks show, I wasn’t as excited as I was supposed to be.
In the hands of professionals, I love to see the bright colors bursting across the sky. There are emergency crews in position on the sidelines, ready to act the moment something goes wrong. In the hands of someone I love, I don’t want to see the sparks flying up through the trees. It’s just him and his cousin’s husband lighting fuses and hoping they react the right way. It’s not that I didn’t trust my brother-in-law. Apparently he shoots fireworks off all the time. But just because he’s done it before, that doesn’t make it any safer (by the way, I totally get why it’s illegal; it’s literally playing with fire).
So I was the first to volunteer to stay inside with my baby niece. Then, when my nephew and his cousin came inside because they were scared, I was perfectly content to sit next to them and listen to them say, over and over and over (and over) again, “Boom!” My nephew loved hearing the sound the fireworks made as they were launched. And though from our vantage point on the couch we couldn’t see a thing except the initial sparks, it gave the show a little bit of extra magic. To be so young and so enthralled by something so dangerous is a luxury I don’t have anymore. All I see is the risk.
When one of the fireworks suddenly shot out to the side, too low to the ground to be on purpose, I was terrified. “Do you see anyone moving out there?” my mom asked. “Boom!” said my nephew.
Everyone was fine, of course. Despite the fluke fire that threatened to catch on the dry grass, everything went okay. And when the display was long over, my nephew kept shouting, “Boom!” Because “boom!” to him is only a signal of excitement. He doesn’t know how boom can be bad. He doesn’t understand how something can go from being fun one minute to being a disaster the next. And while in the back of my mind I’m thinking, One day he will, I’m also thinking, Let’s postpone that for as long as we can. For as reckless as playing with fire may be, it’s also something adults don’t get a chance to do very often. So they should take advantage of the opportunity while they still have it. (Other adults, I mean. The ones who aren’t scared of fireworks. Not me. Are we clear on that?)