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When Lightning Bugs Look Like Fireworks When Lightning Bugs Look Like Fireworks
    by Michael T. Powers

    On The Fourth of July my wife and I went a couple blocks from our house to a huge hill where we could enjoy the view and the fireworks not only from the town we live in but from nearby towns as well. It was a hot night, but there was a wonderful breeze, and you could see a long ways in all directions. It wasn’t as visible as if we were right there where they were shooting them off, but we could still get a good view of the festivities...

    I wanted to see Caleb’s (my 3 year old) reaction to the fireworks. He sat with us all of two minutes before he started tumbling down the hill and giggling. “Caleb, come here.”

    He would reluctantly come back by us and to sit for a spell.

    “See the pretty colors over there?”

    “OOOOOhhhhhhhh!” he replied, all the while looking in a different direction from where the fireworks were actually going off.

    “Heeee heeeee!” he giggled as he tumbled down the steep hill again.....

    “Caleb, come here and watch with Daddy.”

    “OK Dad.”

    Back up the hill he would come.

    I tried getting him to concentrate on the fireworks again. He watched for another twenty seconds before he started walking away from us. Suddenly he let out a squeal of delight......

    “Finally, he was enjoying the fireworks,” I thought.

    He yelled out, “Look at all the lightning bugs!” I sighed and looked down the hill as indeed there were literally hundreds of fireflies that were stealing Daddy’s thunder.......

    I tried in vain one last time to get him to watch with me. “Caleb, tell me what colors you see.”

    “That’s a green one Daddy! And a red one!”

“Look at all the lightning bugs!”
    This lasted another minute or so before he started tickling Connor (our 11 month old) in his stroller. Then he was off tumbling down the hill again saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,” with each spin of his body.

    I started to call out to him again when Kristi, my beloved bride, leaned over to me and whispered, “Michael, just let him be a kid. There will be other years...”

    I had been getting so irritated that he wouldn’t sit by us and take in the fireworks. I guess I had this preconceived notion that he would sit on my lap and just squeal with delight every time one exploded. Then he was going to ask me if they were magic, so that his proud Daddy could stick his concave chest out, and explain away...... Luckily my understanding wife was there, and was able to gently nudge me back to reality.

    There was nothing wrong with my expectations, but once again my impatience was getting in the way of enjoying time with my wife and sons. I should have picked up on the cues and tumbled down the hill with my boy. Fireworks have been around for hundreds of years, but my boy was only going to be three years old for another week.....

    I bet when you tumble down the hill, the lightning bugs look like fireworks going off.

    I guess I’ll have to start a new tradition on the Fourth of July.

    And from what my three year old tells me, the show goes on every night!

 
Michael Powers would love to hear what you thought of this story. Email him and let him know!

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Title: "When Lightning Bugs Look Like Fireworks"
Author: Michael T. Powers
Publication Date: July 6, 2000

 

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Article © 1999, Michael T. Powers. Used by permission.
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