As light shoots into the sky, we huddle up. Ooooohhh. Ahhhhhh. Wow. An aerial art show stills the crowd on New Year’s Eve or Independence day—or every day if you live in the Magic Kingdom.
Lakeside, oceanside, cityside.
In amusement parks, under a bridge, surrounded by mountains.
We exhale and look up. Together.
We gaze into the night with friends and family, faces lit with burning colors painted in the sky.
Kids on shoulders.
Sparklers in hand.
These moments are big.
They beg for picnic baskets full of sandwiches and cool drinks.
For soft quilts spread all around for the kids, pets and shoes.
But not everyone is a fan:
small dogs with tiny ears
people with Pyrophobia
people with Sparkalaphobia
Since my kids were able to communicate, they have been openly opposed to anything on fire, loud or popping in nature. The microwave can even be a challenge—especially when I’m the one doing the cooking.
Cover. Their. Ears.
My husband and I become human bunkers for an entire 30-minute show. We’ve decided, if there are fireworks that we know about in an area where we are with our kids, we will run before they happen (or at least get somewhere under cover where cotton candy and Sno Cones are sold.)
So, the other day we were with friends at Epcot. We didn’t have much time, so we were trying to squeeze every drop of the magic out of the time we had, which led us to Ireland. (Doesn’t it always?)
Anyway, we are in Ireland, and it’s hot and muggy. And we are in line getting something refreshing to drink when we realize that the fireworks that can be seen ANYWHERE in the park are going to start in five minutes.
I start the mental re-con:
Can we get anywhere not loud in five minutes?
There are four adults.
That means eight hands to cover four little ears.
The math says we’ve got it covered.
The ice cold drinks in our hands take the free hand number down to three.”
We are one ear short.
Meanwhile, our two oblivious girls are playing with their $30 Ana and Elsa figurines.
Ana and Elsa get dropped like last year’s cartoon.
We grab the girls.
Our friends grab the toys.
We are officially the meanest parents alive.
The escape plan evolves, and we hoist our oldest up onto our friend’s shoulders. I’m not sure how this is supposed to help since getting on a 6’3” guy’s shoulders only gets you closer to the action, but it’s a plan so we go with it..
And that’s when this moment happened between our friend and our daughter.
Every time a firework would explode, he would yell, “Cover your ears!”
In between, he’d gesture “high five”. And she’d try.
Sometimes, he’d say “high five” prematurely, and she’d scramble to cover her ears. She would laugh, then panic, laugh, then flinch. But she didn’t give up on the high fives. And when the show was over, she was calm. She felt proud. She had fun. She did it!
They did it.
I think we may be entering a new era for the Lindsey family (at least with one of our kids).
Witnessing this moment got me thinking about what family means.
Family can be anyone who steps in and helps our kids feel safe and significant. It can be someone coaching them through a moment and into another phase in life.
I think sometimes we try to be everything for our kids, and we forget they need other people in their lives.
Eventually, Kirra would have matured and her firework fears would have faded.
But a buddy, turned firework coach, helped her get there a little quicker.
Have you thought about who else you want to be there for your kids? Have you made a list?
These are people we hope will surrogate some of life’s highs, lows, and in-betweens.
These are the people who I want my kids to overhear our conversations with.
These are the people we take turns laughing, crying and figuring it out with.
These are the people I want to be around our kids.
Our kids have blood-related family. And they need that. But they also have firework family who are all in for them in the moments when they need it. We don’t have to be all things for our kids.
So, ask yourself, who do I need to pray for and invite to be a part of my children’s lives? And then turn it around and ask, who else do I personally need to invest in? Other people’s kids need safe, adventurous, creative, loving people to notice and respond to them, too.
Here’s the bottom line:
We win when we let others in.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27