Wednesday, September 07, 2005

broken hearts and wayward balloons

I thought it was tied to his wrist. At second glance, there was, indeed, still remnants of the ribbon tied securely in place, but somehow it had gotten severed getting him out of the carseat. The balloon was gone before I could do anything about it. Crap, I thought, this is just great. I decided to try a chipper approach, hoping to affect his response for the better. "Look, bud! There goes your balloon! It's going to fly away!" Chipper didn't work.

He looked at it, dumbfounded for a moment as it became smaller and smaller. The confusion on his face began to turn downward as the realization of what just happened sank in. "I want it to come back," he cried, tentatively at first. "I want it to come back!" As the full impact of the loss hit his two-and-a-half-year-old heart, he began to sob. "Get it, Momma! Get it!" If only I could.

I rubbed his heaving little back, feeling the full impact of his sorrow against my chest. I struggled not to tear up, all the while recognizing it is not rational for me to tear up about my son's lost balloon. But this is how motherhood is for me. Lost balloons and skinned knees and missed parties and hurtful words on the playground--I feel them all.

I try to tell myself that it is only natural that a child who felt things deeply would grow to be an adult who feels things just as deeply. Despite many years spent trying not to feel at all, I cannot deny who I am. I cannot deny that my heart breaks for broken hearts and wayward balloons, for invitations not received and parties canceled due to illness, for disappointments and unmet expectations and things just not being fair. Their hearts break, and mine breaks with them.

We watch the balloon until we can no longer find its blue against the clear September sky. I wipe his tears, and we go inside to put the groceries away, resolving to be sure the next balloon is still attached next time. This wound will heal. Thank you, Lord, that this wound will heal.


Anonymous said...

I can't help but think that one of the greatest gifts you are giving your kids is your ability to feel their pain. So much better than a "get over it" or other trite comments. I long to be able to empathize with mine as you are with yours. It is a great thing.

Nancy L (formerly C) said...

You're a great Mom, Lorie. But it sure hurts sometimes, doesn't it?

Krista said...

Oh, how many balloons, no matter how much we safe guard them against the inevitable, float away like this. I remember one balloon escape with Trevor... he begged me to go get the ladder and get it. After the realization that it was impossible to get it down, and amidst his tears, he's all... it's going up to Jesus??? What do you say? Yea... kind of, buddy! It would be nice if all the things that escape our grasp of self and child protection were always safe with Jesus. After the week I've had of plain old mercy, I've come to think that they are.

Cynthia said...

I remember losing a balloon once. I was six. I was outside playing and I accidentally let go. I ran after my balloon and tripped on the curb trying to grab the ribbon it was attached to. I hurt my knee but didn't care because all I could think was, "how could I have let go?" My mother did not comfort me, It didn't even register to me that she would. You are a nurturing mom Lorie. Your children will rise up and call you blessed.

lorie said...

Thanks, guys. Who knew we were all going to have to live through the ups and downs of childhood AGAIN?

Anonymous said...

Very touching