Sunday, August 15, 2004


We had beautiful balloon displays at my bridal shower 10 years ago. At the end of the party, Rich took a huge bunch of colorful balloons outside and released them into the world. I believe he was singing 99 Luftballoons as he watched them fly off. Rich believes that balloons are meant to be free. They fly to the ceiling and try to break through but they can't unless we help them by releasing them.

I told him I would never have thought of letting them go. I would've taken them home and kept them until they deflated. Even then I would've been hesitant to throw them away as they lay in a wrinkled heap on the floor. I like to hold the memory for as long as I can.

When Lillianna gets a mylar balloon she saves it until it falls to the floor. I put a tiny hole in it and squish it until it is flat. Then I save it unless she says it's ok to throw it away. Birthday balloons never get thrown away. They get placed in a Ziploc bag with Lillianna's birthday cards to be saved forever.

Lillianna does release regular balloons into the air just like her dad. The first time she did this after a friend's birthday party I was quite surprised. As a child, I held tightly to my balloon. I would never have let it go so soon.

Lillianna loves to watch the balloon as it floats higher and higher, over the tree tops and out of her sight. She thinks about where it might travel and who might see it. To her, the possibilities are endless. As for me, well, I try not to cry that the balloon is gone, never to be seen by us again. I have always had trouble letting go of things:people, places, memories. I dread when it's time for Lillianna to leave home. If I cry over a lost balloon what will I do when my precious child flies away? Maybe the 3 of us can throw a balloon bouquet into the air together.

Do you keep your balloons or set them free?

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