Thursday afternoon, someone delivered a bouquet of daisies and balloons to my cubicle at work. They were from my mom and my sister to congratulate me on my new job (SAHM). A very sweet gesture.
Along with a multitude of boxes and various items including a wooden snowman, a lamp, a radio and a pillow, we carefully shoved my bouquet into the car at the end of the day. I knew the balloons, more than anything, would be oh-so-exciting for Ben. And wow.
When he was getting strapped into his seat, he looked over and noticed the balloons. You should have seen the grin spread across his face. I cut one off and handed it to him, but he accidentally let go of it a moment later and the wind floated it off into the sky. So he got a second one, an orange one.
And he didn't let go of it until the afternoon. Seriously. He slept with that thing. It was so funny seeing him on the video monitor, curled up under his blankets, holding tightly to the balloon's string. Around four in the morning, he started waking up a bit, and we could hear him play with the balloon in bed. Squeaka-squeaka-squigzh.
After he came downstairs in the morning, he started playing with his other toys, but only with one hand, because the other one was still holding onto the balloon. And when he tripped and fell and started to cry, he came running to me for a hug, but turned around when he got to me so I could lift him up from behind to hug him. He didn't want to let go of the balloon, even for some loves from mom. I wish I had pictures of Ben holding his orange balloon in one hand, his little yellow school bus in the other, while Chris carted him around the grocery store after the morning nap. I bet he was pretty cute.
By mid afternoon, the amount of helium left in the balloon wasn't sufficient enough to keep it aloft for very long, and it was easier and easier for him to hold it and carry it around. And then Chris and I started batting it around so Ben could play monkey in the middle. Soon after that, the balloon started to lose its charm. It currently lies on our bathroom floor, where Ben put it after I refused to let him toss it in the bathtub while I was taking a shower.
Chris was worried about the obsession, but I was stalwart in my defense of Ben's mania concerning the balloon. Over breakfast, I assured my dear husband that Ben would not be graduating high school with the thing, it might pop at any time, and would be dead by Monday no matter what. It's not like he was obsessed with a pair of scissors or a tampon. A balloon is a perfectly natural, reasonable thing for a small boy to be in love with.
Even though the balloon is relegated to the past along with his other discarded used-to-be-favorite toys, I'll always remember fondly his little obsession, his insane need to constantly be hugging it, and that brave balloons refusal to die, even when being steamrolled by a toddler over and over again.