“It’s too loud!”

For the past few years, that has been Brooks’s response to any and all Fourth of July pyrotechnics.

My husband and I decided a long time ago not to take this one on even though our instincts urge us to consistently push Brooks beyond his comfort level; after all, that is how he learned to talk and to play with other kids. But this is different. Brooks can simply be a kid who doesn’t like fireworks. As a family, we can easily forgo this tradition, and if it limits him a little bit socially as he grows up, we can live with that.

So when we learned that a recent Brooklyn Cyclones game we were attending would conclude with fireworks, we planned not to stay for the after-party. But old habits die hard: we took along ear plugs in the off-chance that he would choose to partake.

As expected, this created anxiety at the ball field: “Will there be fireworks after every home run?” “It’s not July 4—it’s July 10—why are there fireworks?” “If the game goes into extra innings, will the fireworks still be after the ninth inning?”

When the fireworks did finally start, Brooks had already defensively planted himself on my lap. He had his earplugs in, and both his hands and my hands over his ears. When I looked down and asked him if he was okay, he didn’t have to answer—he was smiling. Together, the three of us were part of a raucous sports crowd that ooh’ed and ahhh’ed as the choreographed streaming colors lit up the Coney Island sky.

As I tucked Brooks in late that night, I asked him what his favorite part of the day was. The roller coaster? Totonno’s pizza? Carvel ice cream? The baseball game? Dunkin munchkins? “The fireworks,” Brooks said as he fell asleep with one of his light-up-the-ballpark smiles.

The Cyclones won 9-3. Take me out to the ball game!

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