We just came from Dover, Delaware’s Firework Show downtown. We left around seven o’clock when the sun was still up. The weather has been dreary and drizzling all day. At work, I was worried it would spoil our Fourth of July. Fortunately, despite the overcast, there was no rain. Still, I brought a jumbo umbrella along with his baby bag, stroller, and blankets. At the last minute, I snatched my flightline hearing protection muffs and hooked them on the stroller. He also had sunglasses in case the fireworks were too bright. Off we were.

I felt strange being in a busy, public setting just him and I. We go to the mall and supermarket together but this wasn’t like the mall and the supermarket. While standing in line to get some crab cakes, my head was on a swivel. A tall man standing behind me kept inching so close to me I could feel his body warmth. It was more crowded and congested than I expected. And with all the stuff in the media going, I was paranoid that this would be the perfect setting to get caught in the middle of something. In hindsight, I just haven’t put us in a situation like this before. In other words, I haven’t gotten out much. My motherly instinct has been to protect our son and there is nothing safer than sitting with ma on the couch watching the Wendy Williams Show. Just last year (almost to the day), we discovered we were pregnant. The year before that, we were prancing around my hometown in Connecticut and AJ was seeing Times Square for the first time. When I was just single (and even when AJ and I were married with no kids), I had an air of uncaring I didn’t realize was there. I’ve always worried but this is a different kind of worry.

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But back to today– I got four pieces of coconut shrimp from Laughing Crab Catering (eight dollars total). As I struggled away from the fair onto the rigid terrain of the Green, I dropped my coconut shrimp in the dirt. A couple laughed and gave me the old, “A little dirt never killed nobody!” I agreed and told them that I was going to eat them anyway. And then I cynically considered the fact that dirt (if contained with bacteria) is lethal. Anyway, we found a space under some trees, I laid a large polyester blanket out, broke my son’s instroller down, and held him close to my chest. Music blasted– we were sitting right under the speakers. Old-fashioned parade trumpets blared and my son began to scream. I was grateful I grabbed my ear muffs because it was prematurely time for them.

I wanted him to watch the lights pop although he’s too young to even conceptualize whether or not he was watching it from the television and what the television is in the first place; however, I did not want to be stuck in traffic with a crying baby so I did his routine– a changing followed by nursing. My husband and I throw his baby bag in his pack n’ play when we get home and use the diapers in his baby bag (making a mental note to re-up). In the end, we’re left with no diapers for when we leave the house with him in a hurry. So I had no diapers. But he dozed off right away just from nursing. I also have sundown to thank. His sleep pattern has a thing for when the sun goes down. I mean, our bedroom has blackout curtains but he’ll only consistently sleep from eight o’clock (dusk) to four o’clock (dawn). And it doesn’t even have to be bright out. The sky could just be turning blue and he’s up like clockwork.

The fireworks came on and it sounded like what I’d expect a bomb to sound like. My heart goes out to combat veterans and I hope they found a way to avoid their trauma. Meanwhile, I was growing paranoid with the possible sound of gunshots getting mixed in with the night’s festivities. I’ve also always been worried about fiery firework stragglers finding their way onto my head. My family and I always watched the fireworks at Cummings Beach in Stamford, Connecticut where Bay Fireworks showcased on the Long Island Sound. The spark doesn’t even have to get me directly on my head– they can catch in the trees and then it’s over. You can’t escape a canopy of fire. Apologies for being so morbid.

twMy son slept soundly. By ten o’clock, I was all packed up and I noticed everyone else was packing up, too. We walked to the car, I wanted ice-cream at the last minute, and, when I got the both of us all settled in, the parking lot filled like a swarm. We were at a crawl for an hour straight. We weren’t going to sleep there, though. At some point, we’d make it home. I began to say a quiet prayer because his two-pound wet diaper was beginning to make him whine. When we got on the freeway, all was good. He dozed off and now he’s with his father taking a midnight bath and getting ready for bed. I am currently drinking Tisdale Merlot. I have to work tomorrow morning.

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