I remember the morning of Evan's 2nd birthday party I was pretty grumpy. I'd had an argument with Justin. I don't remember what it was about. Probably something silly. I went to church and was all upset. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a couple of things for the party. I started off at the florist area to get some balloons. They bumped into each other and into me as I continued shopping. I noticed my mood had improved, and I thought to myself, "It's almost impossible to be upset when you're carrying balloons!" I decided to get over it and go home to a good time with my little boy and our families. And, of course, he loved his balloons. (Somehow I didn't manage to get pictures of those balloons!)
In August of that year Evan got a green balloon at someone else's birthday party. He chose the green one specially, and was disappointed when it flew away. I promised him another balloon when he got his hair cut before starting school in September. Balloons are about special occasions. Birthdays and, um, haircuts. Anyway, he was very pleased to get a new balloon. I figured he'd go with his favorite color, red. Nope. He remembered that lost green balloon, and happily got a new green one to replace it. There was no losing it this time.
Miranda and Duncan love balloons, too. Who doesn't, really? I don't know if it's the "boop, booping" the balloons make as they bump into each other. Or maybe the mystery of how they float. For Duncan I think part of it is popping them. They elicit giggles and squeals of delight.
And very happy faces. We get them for birthdays and I even got a couple to decorate for Miranda's class Thanksgiving party last week.
We also get balloons on Evan's death anniversary. Ever since the 2nd anniversary of Evan's death we've done a balloon release in his memory. We typically gather with friends and family. We write notes to Evan on the balloons, and even draw funny pictures. Someone says a few words, and we let them go. It's beautiful. A lovely, colorful tribute to a sweet little boy.
Of course, I have to admit: unlike what I thought on the day of Evan's 2nd birthday party, I guess balloons don't always improve my mood. I went today to get a couple of special balloons to release tomorrow, and almost cried. One balloon has pictures from one of Evan's favorite shows: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
The other balloon, simply says, "I love you." Tomorrow I think it will just be us. No family or friends. And just two balloons. Of course, how many do we need to honor a little boy. He would have been happy with just one. So today I'm thankful for balloons. They bring joy to the little ones and a feeling of being able to reach out to my lost little one.