By Marcia Mickelson
I haven't gone to fireworks in a long time. We tried taking my oldest son when he was two, but he freaked out. The sound really scared him and he screamed. We left immediately and didn't try again. The blow dryer, electric mixer, and vacuum were all scary sounds for him, and we had to always take him outside when we used any of those items. Slowly, he's outgrown the fear of loud sounds.
Fireworks has always been scary for him and my middle son. On New Year's Eve, our neighbors like to set off fireworks and every year, we could count on my kids being woken up, terrified in the middle of the night. For the last several years, our ritual has been to take them in the car and drive out of the city where they couldn't hear any of the fireworks. Sometimes, we'd stay away for an hour or two until we knew it was safe to come home.
Last Fourth of July, my kids were brave and decided we would try some fireworks at home. I was so proud of them. The two oldest did very well and were not scared at all. Our 2 year old got a bit freaked and had to go inside.
This year, my two oldest continued in their courageous journey and agreed to go see a real firework show on the Fourth of July. We drove to Corpus Christi Beach and set a blanket out on the sand along with a huge crowd of people who wanted to see the show. We had about an hour and a half before the show began, so my kids played in the sand and water a little. We didn't bring our swimsuits like many other people had done, but they dipped their feet in the water. It was so fun to play on the beach as the sky darkened around us. At 9:30, the fireworks were to begin. A little before that, some people started setting off a few of their own fireworks as sort of a preamble. At first, my 2 year old was very scared and wanted to go home. He cried a little and then clung to me. When Dad came back from taking my oldest to the bathroom, baby went right to him and laid by him on the blanket. I think he knew Dad was the real protector in the family. The fear wore away slowly and when the real show began at 9:30, he wasn't scared anymore. He actually enjoyed watching the colors. Amazingly, the real fireworks were not as loud as the other ones. I think because of our location, the wind drove away the loud sounds and it was just perfect.
All three of my boys enjoyed the show and the older two never showed an inkling of fear. I was so proud of all my boys. This was a huge step for the Mickelson family. We can actually enjoy fireworks now instead of running away from them from now on.