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Fourth of July hasn’t really been that important to me, if I am going to be honest. I mean, I’m patriotic and everything, but we don’t go all out for it. We cook out sometimes. We enjoy the fireworks displays, and occasionally we’ve lit our own.

When the boys were younger though, all three usually spent the holiday with their fathers. So I guess I’m out of practice.

But when the two older boys were real young, and their father and I were still together, I remember buying sparklers for the boys.

I bought the more expensive wooden ones. The sales woman told me that because they were wooden they’d be safer for my toddlers… you know, “because the metal could burn their hands”.

I brought them and some of those “exciting” snakes home for Corey and Justin. We sat on our back porch and lit them with the boys.

I held the very first wooden sparkler I lit and was about to hand it to one of the boys when it went “POP!!!!!”

Part of the decorative paper flew off of the sparkler and fell on my hand, arm and foot. It seriously burned me, and I still have the scars.

I was so angry, I went right back to the tent where I bought the sparklers and showed the sales woman what happened. She then admitted she really had no idea if that would have or should have been safer… she was just making a sale. Then she pointed to a sign that basically said nothing would be considered her fault. Coward.

We spend our lives trying to protect our children. Trying to keep them from harm.

Then we wonder if the thing we did to save them from pain is the thing that caused them to hurt. Because I made Corey go through 5 years of self defense classes. Then he’d been through Basic…sometimes I question myself… was it my fault he died? Because I taught him to fight back?

I know Corey had to have fought back. Did his willingness to defend himself cause his attacker to kill him?

Honestly, I hope Corey knocked the sh** out of him.

Because if so, I’ll know Corey had more courage than his attacker.
Corey had the guts to fight with his hands.
The other guy had to use a knife.


Gwen Carver

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