Last week, I passed a mom leaving the commissary dragging her two small children. One child was gleefully bobbing a balloon tied to his wrist up and down. The other, grief stricken, was crying inconsolably and had gone all boneless. I glanced at their very tired looking mother and said, “She lost her balloon, didn’t she?”
In response, the mother merely pointed skyward at a pink orb drifting to the heavens, which set off a fresh wave of wailing below her.
What parent can’t relate to this scene? Balloons can cause great joy and great sorrow, sometimes within the same 30 second period.
Three truths I know about balloons
- They are fragile and will pop– sometimes by merely looking at them pointedly
- Even without a puncture, they don’t last long– a balloon animal is considered geriatric if it lasts 21 hours.
- They have a tendency to escape—balloons gotta be free.
In the past I have tried to use balloons as some sort of life’s lesson for my kids. I try to prep them for the inevitable and try to point out the joy in the moment. I will tell you that no matter how many times I say, “the balloon won’t last until tomorrow, lets enjoy it while we can” there is still a small amount of residual heartache when they wake up and “Ellie” the pink balloon elephant has withered to a flaccid handful of latex.
So, I’m going to let you in on my selfish secret. The Simple Year has mostly provided me with a welcome relief from the balloon circle of life because I don’t buy them. The kids don’t even ask any more. Can I get a whoop whoop?
Although there has till been the occasional FREE balloons and balloon animals, like these made for them at a Christmas brunch.
These exceptional specimens had to be hand carried home on an airplane and grudgingly lovingly had space made for them in the overhead bin. Rudolph lost his right front leg and the palm tree lost a frond upon decent, but they actually made it home mostly intact for the rest of their 24-hour life cycle.
Proving definitively in my children’s mind that mom doesn’t know anything.
Back to the woman with the crying child; I asked her in a series of surreptitious mother-to-mother hand gestures and whispers if she wanted me to go back in and get a replacement balloon. Mom said, no, she had asked her to tie it on her wrist and she refused. I nodded my understanding and walked away. The whole time, I was considering the likelihood that I’ll be able to continue the moratorium on balloon buying past The Simple Year.