There's nothing smart about taking a kid with epilepsy to see fireworks.
So we do it.
We stay up hours past her bedtime and explode lights in her face, like participants in a demented researcher's clinical study. We load her up with sugar, too, going for broke.
It's not smart. We're not in this for smart. She can be smart when she has her own kids.
But I doubt she will.
When the show starts, when the classic rock cover band stops asking us to c'mon c'mon c'mon c'mon and touch them baby, when the explosions fill the sky, I watch her face. I look for eye rolls, for locked jaws. For tremors.
She watches the sky.
I watch her.
Her face is blue. Red. White. Sparkling.
When the big ones launch, she holds her breath. She holds it until the blast lights her face. Twice she reaches up, fluttering her fingers between her and the sparks.
We're close enough to the fireworks to smell them.
She never looks over at me. I rarely look away from her.
I've seen fireworks before.
I've never seen them like this before.
The finale comes, wave after wave of sound and light. She rocks up on her knees. There's no way this can be seen with mere sitting. It keeps going, flashing and pounding, blasts compressing the air between us and the sky. I watch her face.
She claps. Her eyes stay forward. The tremors never come.
There's nothing smart about taking a kid with epilepsy to see fireworks. There won't be next year either. But we're not in this for smart.