The tears came fast. The tears were real. I looked up with Landon to discover that his helium balloon had escaped the trunk and was well on its way to becoming a blue speck of a memory.
To everyone but him.
Tonight (three days later), as we were driving home Landon said, "That balloon is not going to Heaven, mom."
I suddenly recalled an unconsidered remark I had made about the balloon in my attempt to comfort him: "Bye, bye balloon. He'll go to heaven." (Yes, I personify everything like that. A childhood habit that still threads itself into my adult life.) "We'll get another balloon sometime, buddy. We're sorry that happened to you." Even though it was small, nearly meaningless to me, I could tell Landon was sad. It was his first run-in with the fleeting nature of helium balloons.
"You're right, buddy. That was pretty far-fetched to say it was going to Heaven. Kinda far for one little balloon to go. What do you think will happen to it?"
"I know what will happen to it."
I wait. I love to learn the things Landon 'knows.'
"When the gas comes out of that balloon it will come down and land back by the storage unit for us."
I have been calling the storage unit, "a big garage thing we are keeping our stuff in" and not giving lessons on helium gas and its interactive properties with the permeable surface of a rubber balloon.
So who is this three-year-old who sorts it out with more realism than his whimsical mama who wants to imagine that blue balloon joining up with the "Balloon Ball in the Sky," by serendipitous invite only. I want to imagine them all gathered in a swaying bouquet of wishes, each allowed to share who they are meant to honor, what party they graced, what carnival they attended. Our little blue one would chime in, "I showed up at a guy's work and announced that his wife is carrying a son. You should have seen his grin, and the way he swooped his family up in a big family hug when he figured out why I came floating in!"
While I'm writing fairy tales about talking balloons going to Heaven my little investigator is quietly making sense of this world.
So would it be too mean if I tied another blue balloon to our storage unit with a note that says, "Loved the trip; glad to be back"?