This blog I write with great trepidation and I risk being judged, but it needs to be written. It might stop an injury, or worse, a fatality. We were very blessed that one didn’t happen to us. Blessed or lucky, I’m not quite sure.
New Year’s Eve day, our neighbors Connor, Brendon and Mitchell came over to play with our boys in the afternoon. The 5 boys were having so much fun that they stayed for dinner and then for banana splits. David planned to set off a few fireworks after diner as we were going to a house party at 8pm.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” I asked David.
“All boys love fireworks,” he said.
“I just don’t feel comfortable with this,” I said.
“Of course you don’t.” David thinks I’m too cautious.
(Remember this, it’s important to the story.)
David lit the fireworks and they went off without a hitch. I was on the verandah watching and yelling at the boys to get back. The second set goes off all wrong. It fell out of the snow and pointed right at the boys, who David was already shouting at to run. I was watching this from the verandah. I thought my life ended. I heard the cries from a boy. I wasn’t sure which one. You feel emotions when you think one of your children is hurt, but you feel a whole different set of emotions when you think someone else child is hurt, on your watch. I ran to the backyard where they were. Brendon, the middle boy, was hit in the leg. He wasn’t hurt badly, but was very scared. His older brother Mitchell was very worried. Colin, my youngest son, was crying.
We all went in the house and put ice on the welt on Brendon’s leg. Meanwhile I hear the boys outside the bathroom door.
“That was awesome!” Connor said.
“It chased Brendon around the garage,” Evan exclaimed.
“But it bounced off my boot, then it went after Brendon,” Connor said.
“I saw it all happen, and I jumped out of the way in the nick of time,” Mitchell boasted, describing a scene from Saving Private Ryan.
I knew I had to call their parents.
“Ask for Daddy,” Mitchell shouted out.
Their mom answered the phone and I told her what happened. They were very understanding, or at least they seemed it. David went down to talk to them, to see if we should move, considering that they live only a few doors down.
Ten minutes after it all began, Brendon was rocking it out on Guitar Hero. The other boys looked at him in awe.
“Brendon, you were hit with a firework,” Evan said.
“Yeah I know,” Brendon said with a smile.
The thing is, we were very lucky. I could have had to call their parents and tell them that their son was hit in the face, or lost a leg, or was killed. It was only that night, lying in bed, staring in silence at the ceiling that it really sunk in. There are risks that we are going to have to take raising boys. Evan went coasting the other day with this same family and did a face plant on the ice scraping his face. That to me, is a necessary risk. Kids have to go coasting. But fireworks? The risks outweighed the benefits.
So what is the message in this Disney Afterschool Special? Never light fireworks? No, that is not what I’m saying (although we won’t be). Just make sure that the risks that you take are necessary.
That night in bed, David broke the deafening silence by leaning over and kissing me on the cheek.
“I bet I know how we won’t be ringing in the new year,” he joked.
I smiled. I knew David felt terrible. I knew he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if anything serious had happened to one of those boys. He knew that if the same thing happened to one of our boys at someone else’s house, he would have been less forgiving. It was a real wake-up call.
While we are still on edge, hanging out at the Hennigar house will still be tons of fun. Everyone, however, will be asked to wear a helmet, take a Wii competency test and sign a liability waiver. Other than that, nothing’s changed!