What It’s Really Like Taking Your Kids to See Fireworks

Hooray! It’s the Fourth of July weekend, a perfect time to celebrate our patriotism by bringing our kids to see bursts of brilliant color dance across the sky while we sweat profusely in public. To prepare you for your trip to take the kids to see fireworks, here’s a quick rundown of what to expect. Enjoy!

Making the Announcement

The rest of the year you are on your parenting game, knowing full well that you are to NEVER tell your kids that you are doing something any more than 12 to 17 seconds before the thing you are definitely doing is absolutely about to happen. And yet, a childlike giddiness takes over and you open your regret hole to spew the words, “We’re going to see fireworks tonight!” that morning. This is followed by:


“Are we leaving now?”

“How about now?”

“I put my shoes on. Should I get in the car?”

“Is it time yet?”

“It’s later, Mom. You said we’re going later.”

“How about now?”





[Play on repeat every 90 seconds for the next nine hours.]

Getting There

So you all hop into the car for what is normally a 15-minute or so drive, when half the town and all of their visiting relatives are also doing the trip. Have fun trying not to get filled with a firey rage throughout an hour (or two) of, “Are we there yet? How about now? Is it much longer? Are we even moving? Why are those old ladies walking faster than our car is moving?”

You Have Arrived (Kind Of)

Now that you’ve parked your car a solid 10-minute walk away from where you hope to sit, enjoy getting eaten by mosquitoes and knocked about by drunk college students as you deflect the calls of a constant barrage of suspicious-looking vendors selling necklaces that glow, inflatable hats, tiny American flags, and other bric-a-brac at a 6,000 percent markup that your progeny are guaranteed to lose before the sun fully sets. To buy yourself a little time, you accept lit sparklers from another family in the hopes that they will distract your kids from complaining about their sore feet and the fact that fireworks don’t get set off until it is actually dark out. Then you pull the mesmerizing danger sticks away from your daughter’s flammable bugspray-coated hair right before she drops it onto your foot, scalding a forever memory into your flesh to ensure you never forget this delightful family moment.

Pure Terror

The music starts up, the kids perch on your shoulders, everyone’s face gets split with excited grins, then the first bright white boomer BANGS in the air, causing a shock wave of weeping babes throughout the crowd. It is guaranteed that the child who looked most forward to the glorious display overhead will be the one most petrified once the show begins, clinging to you like a bawling barnacle.

Kind of Liking It

Spend the next 10 minutes kneeling on pebbles with your back to the fireworks, hugging at least one child while he/they build up their bravery to try and enjoy it from the safety of your arms. Try not to make direct eye contact with all the groins surrounding you. Take at least one blurry snapshot of each kid in profile with the glow of fireworks lighting their faces with your phone, then hear that grandma who passed your car on foot an hour ago mutter, “Always on the phone, parents these days.”


As soon as the kids release you from their clutches of terror and finally genuinely smile at the sky, the finale fills the air and it all goes silent. Yes, you have been there eating cotton candy and talking with friends and Oooh-ing at the fireworks for hours now, but time flies when you’re an emotionally irrational tot.

Heading Back: Part One

The walk back to the car is when the crying starts back up, because they have to wait a whole year to see fireworks again and the car is too far away and those kids over there got glow necklaces and why is the car so far away? WHY, MOM?

Heading Back: Part Two

Now that you’re in the car, crawling out of your parking space for the epic journey back home, you gently suggest that the kids close their weary eyes while you put those blurry photos on Facebook, which only results in them loudly and fondly remembering each and every single firework that exploded. They’d like everyone to rank them by favorite (color and sparkle being the most important factors in this decision, obviously). Rest assured, they will fall deep asleep as you roll into the driveway, earning you cardio points as you carry each of those sweaty, sticky bodies inside and up to bed knowing that you’ll be doing this all over again next year.

Have fun!

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