so we drove across the street to fair park and walked and walked looking for food for brian that was not popcorn, chips, cotton candy, sno cones, turkey legs, hot dogs, or hamburgers. we walked to the lagoon and almost got on one of those swan paddle boats. but we were carrying a lot of stuff and i was already weary from trudging about with the baby. we circled back and spread out blankets a mere 100 paces outside of the cotton bowl. the symphony played for a million years and asked various members of the armed forces to stand and be recognized. many people who were not military were already standing.
the baby was at his wit's end, considering it was already at least an hour past his bedtime. he eventually became shrill enough to warrant a trip to the boob. i was surprised to see him not break his latch while the first few fireworks banged quite loudly behind him. he might have been too terrified. then, he finally turned. i was immediately concerned that we were so close. so close, in fact, that they were dizzying and deafening. since early childhood, i have been a big fan of not being too close to the action and, as it turned out, not much had changed.
i oooo'd and ahhhh'd for the baby's benefit to let him know there was nothing to be frightened of, but i could see his alarm increasing. during some of the louder groupings, i pressed one hand to his left ear and the side of my head to his right ear.
jesus, it felt like we were going to be swallowed up by those glittering explosions. they were kind of like those gummy jelly hands on gummy jelly strings you used to get out of the gumball machines at the grocery store that could be thrown across the room to splat on a faraway object and suck it up into its palm before receding.
people behind us started screaming, which only served to increase oliver's anxiety. i was starting to feel like a terrible mother at this point and was unsure how to escape such a looming event fast enough. oliver started looking quickly back and forth between the screaming people and the fireworks and daddy. his face was beginning to contort a little and i told brian we needed to get out of there.
he packed up quickly while i tried to decide if i should run away into the quiet of the night with oliver. just as we started to walk away, a storm of firecrackers began going off and i wondered if all those vets weren't hitting the ground and looking for cover. i have never seen a firecracker like that one. it was a billion tiny, crackling explosions raining down from the sky in a dozen-colored fire cloud. it would have been amazing if i had been farther away. as it was, i felt myself almost crying from being so overwhelmed by its proximity. i can't even imagine what oliver must have been thinking, but he was already refusing to even look that direction any more.
even though the show couldn't have been going on for more than 7 minutes, it was already over. in a different year, i might have been irritated... especially if i had shrugged off any of the other zillions of shows in the metroplex which typically last at least 30 minutes. but, as it turned out, it couldn't have stopped at a better time. and we already had a leg up on the traffic.