Last night being Guy Fawkes night there was great excitement with the boys. D actually came home from school stating it was the best day of his life because we were going to the fireworks! I think that might be a slight exaggeration, but I got the message he was excited!
I think the fireworks are either something you love or you hate, a bit like Marmite! I love to watch them, but I confess the sound of them does have me on edge, especially the ones that make a whirring noise. When I was little, I was much happier sitting in the upstairs bedroom watching them out of the window, rather than going out to a display! As I have got older I have become more tolerant of them, but am not totally happy.
In the city they do a huge display at the beach. It is amazing to see. Hubbys Mum lives near there, and so when the boys were tiny we would go to hers and wander down to the front to watch the fireworks. As the boys have got older though the long trek back, hasn’t been much fun, especially if they fall asleep in the car and then have to be woken to get into the house. We therefore decided to look for something nearer.
Two years ago we decided to go to Stonehaven, about 6 miles from us, as they are one of the few places around here that still do a bonfire. The boys had never seen a large bonfire, and therefore we thought it would be interesting for them to experience. The evening turned into a total disaster though. The boys were very excited until they actually lit the fire. M became very distressed by the burning of the Guys. I tried to explain to him why this happened, but he just got extremely concerned by it. We therefore decided it was a good time to go and get something to eat before the fireworks began. The event is attended by hundreds of people, but this particular year the barbecue was very badly organised, and they had run out of food! We now had two miserable children who had been promised hotdogs, and instead, just had rumbly tummies – we had to stop for fish suppers on the way home. Anyway the fireworks finally got under way, and they were spectacular, but VERY loud. M was still agitated from the fire and the noise just set him off totally. D though also stood with his hands tightly over his ears. I was wishing I could have done the same! Afterwards the boys both asked that we never went there again. We have been happy to oblige.
Last year we therefore went to the next village down from us who have a very active fundraising community. The fireworks display is entry by donation which I think encourages people to give what they can. The display is set off behind the community centre where it is pitch black looking out to sea. It is a perfect location.
This year, this was the only place the boys wanted to be last night. We drove down and wandered towards the area. Buckets were rattled at us, and the boys happily put the money I had given them into them. It was then off to the stall to buy flashing tubes – at only £2 each, I think most children there had one, which shows if you don’t over charge people will spend. It was then to join the queue for the barbecue – again something the boys had been really excited about. I could easily put a sausage or a burger in a bun, but it just doesn’t taste the same. Once we had eaten, it was time to walk around to the darkness of the area to watch the fireworks. The boys held on tight to me and Hubby, as it is pitch black, and you just go with the crowd as you can’t see where you are heading. We found a spot. One of M’s class friends came and said hello, but this just confused him, as she was in the wrong place – I had said to the boys that they might encounter school chums there but I don’t think he really thought he would. M wanted to sit down for cuddles, so despite the grass being wet, I sat down with him. Both boys kept asking when it was going to start, and eventually it did. The display was brilliant – all the money raised on the night gets reinvested into next year. Every firework that was set off D decided was his favourite. D came and sat on my lap, as my bum got soggier. M decided about half way through it should be over, but we managed to persuade him to stay.
When it did finally finish, M went rigid and started screaming and crying as he wanted it to continue. This kind of behaviour is very typical of M, as he was wanting to leave about half way, and yet when he can go, he wants to stay. He was inconsolable for a while, but as the crowd was moving we had to join it or get split up. By the time we had got to the car he had calmed a little, but he kept say that there was another year before fireworks and he wished they were every day. We had a long talk about how they were special because we didn’t see them too often, and if he saw them every day he wouldn’t care about them. It was a logical argument but he was too wound up to pay much attention.
He went to bed miserable, but this morning we didn’t mention it.
I think it is lovely that the boys get so involved with something like this that they could so easily be terrified by. They do get to the point of obsession with things which means the end of something can be the end of their world for a short time. I just feel for him because his upset is genuine.
For now though we look at the Houses of Parliament and wonder how different history would have been had things turned out differently!