Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Blue Balloon

"I must have a scrap of paper in here somewhere," I thought to myself as I dug into my purse outside the appliance store yesterday.

Our son had been so patient...riding lawnmowers pretending to cut the grass, "cooking" us dinner on one of the many ovens we were considering and turning every knob in sight. Watching him pass the time in the Sears appliance outlet took me back many years to my own trips to Sears with my parents.

The scent was always unmistakable. We usually entered through the hardware department and immediately the smell of new appliances and plastic toolboxes would overwhelm my young senses. To me, it was a wonderland and I'm sure to a four-year-old boy it is even more so. I recalled the rows of neatly arranged socket sets adorned with red bows for the holidays, shiny red tool cases on wheels and the rubbery scent of bicycle tires suspended from racks in the ceiling. As my folks would talk over a potential purchase, my sister and I would play "house" and each pick an appliance for our new abode. I must tell you, watching my son engage himself in that same pretend world was heartwarming.

For my son's good behavior, and to ward off the onset of boredom, the salesperson presented Daniel with a shiny blue balloon. He proudly wore it around his wrist for the rest of the afternoon until it was time to leave. Now,I knew this balloon had a short life to live if it were to go home with us. So, I devised a plan. I began to scrounge around for a scrap of paper and a marker. I then proposed that we send the balloon on a journey up to heaven with a message to Grammy (my Mom). His face beamed at the idea and, although I knew it to be a fantasy, I was kind of excited myself.

Paper and pen in hand, I wrote a note that read, "To My Grammy With Love," and then he personally signed his name. We tied the note to the balloon and, on the count of three, 1---2---3... he released the blue balloon up into the air. A gust of wind swooshed it higher and higher as the clouds of an impending storm moved in. Daniel and I watched the balloon until it became nothing more than a tiny dot in the sky and was gone. Surprisingly, not another word was spoken about the balloon.
That is, until bedtime.

Just when I thought he had drifted off to sleep, Daniel rolled over and said (in his sweetest, almost asleep voice) "Do you think Grammy liked her balloon, Mommy?"

My eyes welled up with tears.

"Yes, sweet boy," I replied. "I'm sure she did."


Anonymous said...

I tell ya, Katie...if I've said it before, I'll say it again...
You are the best mom!!! So creative, imaginative, and inspired! What a lucky, lucky boy you have!

Anonymous said...

Sears - What a fantastic memory for us...Thank you!
:-)...BUT the balloon just about sent me over the a good way though. Such a wonderful moment described so perfectly through your voice...Thank you!


Melissa said...

girl, i don't even know what to say. i've read others and thought "the best", but this one may take the prize. instantly brought memories back of the days i too visited sears with mom and dad. and then daniel's bedtime question instantly brought tears to my eyes. you're an incredible mom and an inspiration. grammy would be proud.