When I was a kid I hated fireworks. I actually hated anything that had to with fire in general. I have a memory when I was probably about 5 or 6 sitting with my mom in the bathroom at a Chinese restaurant when my grandparents ordered a poo-poo plater. I was terrified of the fire so I had to sit in the bathroom until it was taken away.* In high school, I was way too afraid to light the bunsen burner in chemistry class so my partner always had to do it and I would never light a match or stick my finger in a flame like all the cool kids did.
So by now you can probably tell that I was absolutely terrified of fireworks and didn’t like going to them at all. I have another childhood recollection of sitting outside in Florida at a fireworks display with my grandparents and one of the pieces of ash hitting my shirt from a close up firework.** I also remember my grandmother giving me cotton balls to put in my ears so I wouldn’t hear anything. Cotton balls don’t block the sound of fireworks. Let’s just put that out there right now. Cotton balls really don’t have much purpose at all except to get cotton stuck to your fingers.
Fast forward about 10 years and I changed my entire opinion of fireworks and grew to love them. I looked forward to watching them at Holman Stadium in Nashua every year, sitting with my friends on the grass and looking up and feeling the hair on my arms go up during the finale.*** I then began to love fireworks so much that I had an unhealthy obsession with needing to see them. Up until about 3 years ago(when my life changed.****) I would get super anxious of the idea of missing them, which then turned into holiday anxiety, which then made me end up curled up in a ball in my bed during the holidays because of my sadness of not having anything to do on holidays and missing the fireworks. December 31, 1999 was one of the worst days for me because instead of doing something exciting I laid in bed all alone watching the fireworks all over the world from my TV. And New Year’s Eve celebrations didn’t get much better after that.
When some miracle happened and I did end up going to see the fireworks I believed that I had to make a wish during them and if I did, they would come true. I believed that going to a fireworks display was the most romantic thing in the world and I would one day get engaged during one.
Fast forward another 10 years, and I learned to change my tune about them. Don’t get me wrong, I still need to see them. I still get very disappointed if I miss them but when I do see them, it’s just fun. I get to listen to the sounds, see all the brilliant colors and designs, wait for the cool sperm ones and the ones that look like willow trees, laugh at the duds. I’ve gotten to see them in Boston and in NH; on the boat, near my house and on the porch of my house. And it’s awesome!
This year Dover’s fireworks were a bit lame. There was no patriotic music and the finale wouldn’t have made even the hairiest of people’s arms tingle. And I didn’t really even mind. It was just fun to watch them and I didn’t spend the entire time wishing I was watching them in a big city. I spent only about a minute thinking that and that is huge progress for me.
*My grandmother of course judged me by this and I am sure was completely embarrassed because god forbid a child have a fear.
**I think that is what happened but more likely my grandmother put a lighter up to my shirt to prove a point.
***My hair would still go up if I didn’t use the personal trimmer to basically make my hair disappear on my arms without shaving them.
****More on that later.