We tortured our kids last night. We took them to see fireworks on the beach. Aren’t we awful? Professional fireworks, by the way – not some guy with a handful of cherry bombs looking to lose a finger or two. We have the good fortune of living just a short walk from the beach and we decided to go down in the evening so that the kids could play. I packed dinner in the cooler and off we went. And for us paste-white folks (me and Luke), not needing sunblock at the beach was refreshing.
The kids surprised us with how well they played together. Until they started throwing sand. You know that at the beach there will be sand. Or at least you should resign yourself to that fact. But feeling as though there are microscopic rocks in your food as you eat because someone thought it a brilliant idea to sprinkle your dinner with sand, well…that’s just undesirable.
“Here, Madeleine. Blueberries?” I said.
She munched away, staining her little fingers blue. Luke came over looking depectively docile. He tossed a blob of wet sand into the cup of blueberries.
“What the heck did you do that for?” I asked.
No response. Just an expression of defiance. A look of There’s more where that came from, lady. Oh, how I wanted to wipe that look off his face. The parents who surrounded us on the beach, with their own little devils disguised as cherubs to contend with, would probably have understood if I’d lost my temper entirely. But instead I only chastised him about how we don’t throw sand in anyone’s food and that it’s not nice and yucky and did he need a time-out in the stroller to calm down.
The light faded. It was that magical hour when fairies waving glittery wands come out and make all the children behave beautifully in the glow of the setting sun. On this particular night, however, the fairies must have passed out from afternoon cocktails because the behavior was not exactly darling.
“I want to go home,” Luke said.
“The show is about to start. You’re going to love it, Buddy,” my husband said with added enthusiasm.
“I’m hungry,” Luke countered.
The first pops of fireworks exploded into huge circles of color.
“I don’t yike dis,” Madeleine said quietly, as she buried her head into my husband’s chest. Her tiny hands wrapped around his arms. We were both surprised that she didn’t love it and figured it was the booming sound that was the problem.
“I’m still hungry. I’m hungry right now,” Luke continued.
“I’m scared. I don’t yike dis,” Madeleine said again.
Michael and I exchanged glances. It was near 10pm. Too late for our kids, who are normally in bed by 7pm at the latest. The fireworks ended mercifully fast and we packed up and headed home.
“Are the sparklies all gone?” Madeleine asked.
“Yes, it’s all over.”
“I want more sparklies,” she said.
I wish I could say that the rest of the night was easy as pie. Nope. We were all coated with sand and in our house there’s no way you’re getting into bed until you’ve been properly scrubbed. A tantrum from Luke ensued. He was deliriously tired and began screaming and pounding on the tub when I informed him that his hair needed washing. It wasn’t pretty but we managed. Oh yeah, and even though they went to bed super-late they woke up 6am today. My husband and I are all bloodshot-bug-eyed and feeling fabulous.
You might think that this experience will scare me off going to the fireworks next year. Not a chance. We are going. And everyone is going to have fun!