My kids saw fireworks for the first time at Disney World. It wasn’t really planned. I was off having dinner with the Shredheads before my first 5K, the kids were with M and his parents at the Magic Kingdom. As happened every night we were there, time got away from us, and they were eating a late dinner. Just as they were getting ready to leave, the show began.
The kids were initially excited – a cast member dressed as Tinker Bell rides a zip line down Main Street to start the show via her magic wand. Rebecca was thrilled. And then, the first BOOM. She was so hysterical and clung so tightly to my mother-in-law’s neck, it is going down as near legend. Daniel might not have cried, but he most definitely hid in M’s arms and only occasionally peeked out between his fingers. In the months that followed, the kids will happily retell the story about Tinker Bell, the pretty colors, and the VERY SCARY BOOMS. “We were scared,” the story always ends.
I had no intention of taking them to see any fireworks this Fourth of July. Being the middle of summer, it doesn’t get dark until quite late these days. Not only were fireworks already established as SCARY, they were also entirely too late.
We spent most of the Fourth in the car. We drove down to Connecticut for a family party. 3+ hours down, 3 hours at the party, 3+ hours back. Naps were totally messed up (Becca slept 30 min as we arrived at the party, Daniel slept 2.5 hours at 6pm on the way home), and it was an all-around long day.
We had to drive into Boston to drop off my sister-in-law and her boyfriend, and there were crowds of people headed towards the river to watch the fireworks and hear the Pops. I tuned the radio to the live broadcast and heard the beginning of the 1812 Overture (woo for real artillery!) as we headed on the final stretch towards home.
All of a sudden, from the back seat, came an overtired but impassioned plea: “I wanna see the fireworks!”
Both of them. BEGGING to see fireworks. As we got onto the highway, we could see a few towns’ displays in the distance. The big Boston show didn’t start for nearly an hour. And suddenly M remembered the perfect viewing spot. The roof of the Tufts University library (M used to work at Tufts) has a perfect line of sight to downtown Boston.
There were tons of people there (lots of summer school students – suddenly realizing how long ago 19 was…), eagerly awaiting the start. The minutes creeped by and the kids got loopier and more tired, but we waited.
Finally, they started, and we threw the kids up on our shoulders so they could see above the crowd. It was perfect. Easy enough for the kids to see (I couldn’t see a thing), but far enough away that you couldn’t hear any of the booms.
The kids only lasted a few minutes before they decided they were done, though of course there were some indecisive meltdowns on the way to the car, including Rebecca moaning pathetically, “I miss the fireworks!”
Next year, my dear. Next year we’ll see them again.
It was completely unplanned, hours past their bedtime, and from an objective standpoint, probably a terrible idea.
I’m so glad we did it.