Another crash resonated around us as our van pulled into the parking lot of Small Town Baptist Church. Night was falling, and the back seat vibrated with the excitement of its two young passengers.
“Look Mommy! There’s another one!!!” a little voice yelped in glee as an explosion of red sparks light up the twilit sky.
In the near darkness we laid out our patchwork quilt, and I settled down to feed the baby. Her eyes were wide, and in them I watched the reflection of the fireworks and sparklers around us. The boys took off their shoes and socks and danced in the dewy grass, shouting with happiness every time another shower of colored sparks rained from the sky.
As darkness fell completely around us, the official fireworks show began. Gracie, her tummy full of milk and her big eyes taking in the flashes and bangs, smiled and kicked with each new outburst of sound. My fears that she would be fussy and afraid melted away as I watched her sweet new face in the strobe of sky-fire.
Ryan and Sam snuggled down next to Art and proclaimed their amazement with each new explosion. They announced the colors to the rest of the gathered crowd. They declared that each was their favorite in turn. After a day of disappointment and frustration, they let themselves go in the pure joy of color and noise and night.
I don’t have a single picture from that show. No photographic evidence that those fireworks ever even happened. But sometimes you have to stop watching life through the viewfinder, and actually live.
And that night, as those three little people wiggled and laughed and yelled in happiness, as the brilliant hues filled the sky with their wonder and magic, living is exactly what we were doing.
It was a night– and a memory– worth unwrapping.