"I don't wanna go. I don't like fireworks."
I should have listened to my girl. She remembered well the panic Glasgow Green's firework display induced in her last year. Her memory is amazing and goes back not just a year, but in some instances longer. I treasure the things she will remember, and wonder if there always has to be an element of fear.
So Cubling remembers a trip to Cumbrae, when we cycled around the island, and saw a rock resembling a face, which when shouted at, gave us an echo. She remembers it's close to her grandparents, that we took a ship there, that we cycled and that there was also a rock crocodile. She remembers shouting at the face and that it's scary, that she doesn't want to see it again.
Then she remembers the fireworks and made it clear she doesn't want to go again. We went anyway, to a smaller, local display, and she reluctantly agreed to come along (only after we promised that the fireworks weren't going to be as big and as noisy, mummy ones, not daddy ones in her words - can I add that mummy usually shouts louder than daddy?)
So she was happy running about and playing with her light toy, a piece of plastic tat that I reluctantly bought her. Just as well I did, because as soon as the lights went out and the first firework lit the sky with a bang, she burst into tears, panic stricken, seriously distressed. All reassurance was in vain and we had to leave the event. At least the light toy was a pleasant memory to be had of the evening. In her own words, she'll not go back next year, "not when I'm four, but when I go to school" (that'll be 5 then).
Lanterns are ok though, they don't bang. She explained to me before we went that she'll use the lantern to collect leaves - as she did last year. And so she did. Lanterns make perfect leaf containers really. The next day she used the leaves to cook soup. Yummy. Leaf collecting in lanterns, at last a memory that doesn't involve fear. I'm relieved. Delighted too, because it demonstrates how the marking of seasonal festivals provide lasting memories for children and parents, shared memories that will be retold again and again, a bit like I'm strengthening my own memories by blogging about these special moments.
At the end of the parade, Cubling sang at the top of her voice "Mein Licht ist aus, wir geh'n nach Haus'" (my light is off we're going home) and switched off her lantern.
St Martin's lantern parade last year...)