Friday, July 4, 2008

The Rockets' Red Glare Leads to Relaxation in Parenting Standards

We're pretty protective of our kids in this neighborhood. Bike helmets even for tricycle riders, green plastic men with "SLOW" written on them when anybody's playing in the street, a chorus of adults yelling "Car!" as soon as the telltale sound of an approaching engine is heard. That makes our love affair with fireworks all the more surprising.

No less than four families had invested in their own personal shows this year. Like Dave & Buster's, they were eventually combined so the rest of us freeloaders didn't have to walk so far to enjoy them all.

Zak and Taryn were enthralled. They loved holding the sparklers and morning glories. They loved watching the fountains. Taryn turned to me at one point, the Fudgsicle ring around her mouth clearly visible in the pyrotechnic glow, and shouted over the crackles and pops, "Daddy, this is AWESOME!"

Zak shared her opinion, and sat as close as he dared to watch. He and another boy provided the highlight of the night when an especially loud whistle scared them into scrambling from the curb back to the camping chairs where most of the grown-ups were seated.

My family didn't really buy our own fireworks when I was a kid, so I frankly enjoyed tonight's show as much as any of the children did. As it was winding down, we could see over the rooftops from a few streets away some other fireworks of a possibly less legal variety in Colorado. One guy sighed and said, "We could probably still make it to Wyoming and back before midnight..."

I know a streetful of kids who would have been happy to make the trip, whether there were enough car seats to go around or not.

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