Last year, with Lizzyface only around 2 weeks old our local scout group put on a fireworks display. It was the first one we had seen in our village having only moved to the area when Fergotron was about 7 months pregnant. Fergotron loves the fireworks and having a two week old baby and still recovering from the labour of doom wasn’t about to put her off seeing them, we live opposite the field they put on the display too, so we only had to step out the front door.
So there we were, wrapped up warm, two week old Lizzyface in the Bjorn stood in the street waiting for the fireworks to start. I remember being really worried that they would upset her but as the first few went up she didn’t stir from the sound sleep she was having. We stood and watched for a while but I started to get the new parent fear that we were irreparably damaging her hearing and we went back in – but we saw most of it and Fergotron was pleased.
Cut to a year later and once again, as the day approached Fergoton began to get a little excited. She couldn’t wait to see them and as Halloween had rather passed us by we made sure that we were ready to go – even putting Strictly on hold until after the show. We had a little debate about Lizzyface, do we bath her as normal and then take her out or do it all afterwards (the show starting 15 minutes after her usual bedtime). We decided to get her ready for bed, put her in her coat and let her stay up. And so, once again, there we were. Stood out in the cold, wrapped up, Lizzyface in a baby grow a jumper and a big coat waiting for the fireworks. She seemed very curious about the throngs of people stood out in the darkness and kept looking around for some indication as to why we weren’t inside in bed.
Once the fireworks began she got her answer. She was interested at first, watching the first few go up and pointing at them. I was watching her eyes and she was tracing each one as it flew up and exploded, covering the sky in a glitter of fall-out. Lizzyface wasn’t overwhelmed, she didn’t laugh and love it and she didn’t cry, she wasn’t scared or nervous. Just interested, “dad” she seemed to say “do you know that the sky is exploding?” A few minutes in she lost interest and spent most of the rest of the display watching the crowd. And then, as quickly as it had begun it was over. We went back into the house and Lizzy was not much more than nonplussed. We put her to bed and that was it. It was only after this, once we sat down that I realised it was our very first family tradition.
I think things like this are important. Silly traditions, family jokes and oddities in the ways we do things are what make the difference between some people in a house and a family. They are sometimes strange and often annoying, a lot of the time they seem unusual to outsiders and sometimes even a little bit embarrassing but it is our traditions that build our identity, that make us feel safe and secure in the knowledge that you are part of something special, and help us bring people into a more intimate part of our lives later on. If someone invites you into one of their family traditions, you can be assured they care about you deeply. So our first one was bonfire night; it may not be an exciting one, and it may not be ground breaking or interesting, but we had a lovely time and though we may not always live where we do now I look forward to many more years of letting Lizzyface stay up just a little bit late, to come and see the local fireworks.