Fourth of July is a time of terrified pets, eating 8 hot dogs at the family cookout, and giving a child a flaming stick of explosives because “it’s just the little stuff honey, he’ll be fine”.
Especially in the Midwest, fireworks can get a bit out of control, a test of who’s the most manly/patriotic in the neighborhood. However, my dad isn’t from the Midwest, and I was raised being sheltered at least twenty-five feet away from the flame. Over the years, my dad has relaxed a little and even began enjoying the holiday, despite constantly reminding us of the injuries and risk at hand (quite literally, in your hand).
And that’s why this Fourth of July, I was still reluctant to leave the safety of my back deck while the boy’s lit off loud, fast-paced rockets. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the beautiful explosion of colors, it was just that I valued my face, my hair, and especially my money makers (my fingers). Therefore, I refused to be the one to actually ignite the fuse.
But this year, just as I am slowly being encouraged to leave the nest and embrace the college life, I was encouraged to leave the back deck and venture into the risky world of explosives. The lighter was placed in my hands, and my brother carefully told me how to burn the wick. “This is a firework for kids, Maddie. Stop thinking and just light it.”
My mind flashed to images of gruesome skin-less fingers, but I still leaned over with shaky fingers, switched on the lighter, and hustled out of the vicinity much faster than I ever ran in gym class.
And you know what? It wasn’t half bad. I actually kind of liked being the one to send the colors into the night sky. I left the big fireworks for the boys, of course, but watched the rest of the show with confidence.
As I type this post with all fingers in tact, I can reflect on the risk taken versus the reward received. The reward wasn’t just the pretty display of flaming lights, the best reward to me was overcoming eighteen years of fear. It wasn’t the most dangerous thing in the world, but I still felt pretty badass watching what I had done (even if it was “a firework for kids”).
PS: If you enjoyed this, the video blog of “Fearful Fingers and Fireworks” is in the making. Stay tuned!