Noises I once loved as a kid have taken on a whole different meaning now that I am a father.
For example, our nation celebrated its independence this past week and for the most part many of us put an exclamation point on the day with sudden, loud noises.
Sudden, loud noises in the form of fireworks.
Growing up, fireworks were somewhat taboo but definitely exciting. Rumors of blowing off a finger or losing an eye perpetrated by parents were meant to deter us from them, but the reality is that such stories just made us like them more. Raise your hand if you yelled "Bang!" just after your buddy lit a fuse to try and scare the daylights out of him knowing we all heard about the boy who lost his finger? Stories meant to scare us, simply encouraged us.
The point is that I love fireworks. The sights, the sounds and the smell afterwards all contribute to a fantastic experience. But as I sat on my couch on the evening of July 4th this year, with the windows open and my boys sleeping soundly after a long, hot day in the sun, fireworks became my enemy.
I was officially “that guy.” Staring out the window, scowl on my face, trying to pinpoint which neighborhood kids were setting off fireworks in their backyard at 11pm. I started thinking to myself, “How come no adults are putting a stop to this? Are the adults even home? Wait a minute, maybe it's the adults who are the ones actually lighting them off!”
“Uh oh, is that one of my boys crying?”
Thankfully no and thankfully I eventually got a firm grip on my attitude and let my displeasure go in the name of overreaction. Still, my (over)reaction wasn’t totally uncalled for. You guys know how hard it is just to get them to sleep and anything that might jeopardize this great accomplishment immediately becomes public enemy number one. Add in the fact that they just had a long day of playing in the sun, and any reawakening would simply be a nightmare.
Then it happened. Exactly what I thought would happen the whole time. They both slept through it like champs.
My oldest even mentioned the next day about how he could hear the fireworks while in his bed. For one who is definitely not a fan of fireworks at this age, and more specifically wants nothing to do with them at all, it was pretty cool that he heard them and still got himself to sleep without making a stir.
In the end everything turned out fine…that is except for realizing I may now have a crotchety old man living somewhere in my body.
But, there is one noise I never experienced growing up that I get to hear all the time now. A noise that makes all of the above worth it and more.
“I love you Daddy.”