Namine loved what we consider her first real Fourth of July fireworks.

Namine’s very first fireworks was of the homemade variety, so we don’t count that. But a couple years ago — just before the Fontan, but right after a promising heart catheterization — we took Namine to her first real fireworks. Unfortunately, there was an accident there, and it was canceled.

This year, we spent the afternoon and evening with my parents and sister at the lakefront. It got colder as the day went on — despite the fact that it’s July, I mean come on, Wisconsin — but we came prepared. (Not as prepared as some of these people with their tents and grills, but still.)

When we settled in at our spot, Namine played catch with my mom for a bit. She was surprised at Namine’s catching ability and arm strength, and she told her so. Namine responded gleefully, “It’s because of my basketball camp!” Mom didn’t doubt that for a second, and neither do I.

My sister had brought a bubble wand. There are few things Namine loves more than blowing bubbles. Lydia blew the bubbles, and a very giggly Namine tried to catch them.

My dad, sister, Namine, and I went for a walk. We were not aimlessly wandering, though; he knew that my Aunt Virginia was somewhere too, waiting for the fireworks to begin. We eventually found her and her family — or rather, she found us.

On the way up to where my dad thought my aunt was, we walked by the lake. Namine spotted a family of ducks, a mother and two babies, on the water. She insisted we wait until they were out of sight before continuing on.

We actually walked right past where she was camped out, and didn’t even realize it. Then I heard someone calling my name. I paused, looking around, waiting to see if whoever had called out was actually talking to me. Then I heard the same voice call “Namine!” and knew that it had to be for us.

On the way back, we saw on the lake something a bit larger than a family of ducks. We saw one of the barges from which the fireworks would be launched that night.

Before the fireworks started, I told Namine that she might feel them boom in her chest. I also told her to let me know if her chest hurt as a result. She said okay, but that wouldn’t happen.

As it started to get dark, we all tucked into our respective blankets and things. Namine had brought her very own sleeping bag, and she happily scooted into it.

A couple years ago, Namine only saw one firework. (I don’t even know how well she remembers that one.) But this year, she was amazed at the brightness. She said to me, “I should have used my sunglasses, these fireworks are really bright!”

The fireworks were almost over when Namine told me that her chest was starting to hurt from the booming. Jessica and I had already packed up everything into the car except for the bare essentials — like Namine’s wheelchair — so it didn’t take us long to leave.

Of course it took us quite some time to get home; Namine was fast asleep well before then.