Fantastic Nite Under the Stars We had a great night tonight...we loaded up our energetic little boy and drove down to the City’s 4th of July event at Crockett Park. I don’t know what Scott was thinking but, like always, my hopes were guardedly high. Last year had been a great success, but this was a new year…and things are not always the same for this little guy. I hoped he wouldn’t get frustrated by the waiting (we were arriving 1.25 hours prior to the launch) or frightened by the fireworks themselves. We told Jack at home that we were going to see the fireworks and he seemed excited, saying “Let’s go to the car. Let’s go see the fireworks.”
We arrived at the park, along with the entire motorized population of Brentwood and Jack said “Look at all the cars!” as he gazed out his window to the stream of cars parked along the road. We were directed to what turned out to be the world’s BEST parking spot, in an adjacent church parking lot, atop a small hill (and near the exit – a bonus!). We began to walk towards Crockett Park, when we passed the church’s playground. There was a big kids area (5-12) and a tot lot (2-5), which turned out to be perfect for Jack. Challenging enough, but nothing dangerous enough to warrant the eagle eye parenting I have grown to anticipate at the playground. It was populated with toddlers and their cautious (and not so cautious) parents. Jack was excited to spend some of our “wait” time here. We watched him try out each area of the playground, even eyeballing his new found interest, the sandbox. The weather was fabulous for a Tennessee summer nite, 78 degrees with a breeze, and this was an “easy” moment in our parenting. Jack looked like a typical kid, perhaps a bit on the anxious side, nervously yelling “Mommy!” when some big kids stormed the play area and ran up the slide. All in all, he was holding his own just fine. About 30 minutes before the fireworks were scheduled to begin, the playground cleared out, and we had the whole tot lot to ourselves. It was a neat moment, Scott and I standing, chatting, while Jack climbed and slid and hollered for our attention. Then Ben appeared, 6.5 and friendly. He was alone with his mom, who had set up firework viewing camp in the big kid playground area and was engrossed in a cell phone conversation. Jack took to Ben right away. After a few minutes, Ben was performing for Jack, jumping off the end of the slide as Jack would yell “Do it again!”. The boys really interacted great!!! Jack was following Ben's every move. Ben was standing at the bottom of the slide making a tunnel for Jack, and Jack would slide through and shout "Let's do it again!". Scott asked if Jack always played this great with other kids. I was proud of that moment for Jack and glad that, for once, Scott was getting to see an awesome moment, instead of only hearing about it back at home at the day’s end.
Then the fireworks started and Jack snuggled into my lap on our blanket. We too decided just to set up camp in the big kid playground area, which happened to have the perfect view of the fireworks and easy access to the car! Well, Jack just LOVED the fireworks. He said "More loud ones!" and "I want to see more fireworks!" He was so sad when it ended, but transitioned nicely to the car. Scott got to see him interact with the boy and the mom said she couldn't tell Jack was autistic (God love 'em for their ignorance!) A great family nite for us and a perfect outing! Yay! A 4th of July for the recordbooks!