Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hope Floats

"Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance." -St. Francis of Assisi (My dad's favorite saint.)

It was something so small, so silly, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Regardless, I don't think I've ever felt more helpless as a parent. Even when she's sick, there's always medicine, orange juice, and a good cuddle on the couch with Doc McStuffins on the television all day. A scrape on the knee gets a Band-Aid and a kiss. Then there are those times when she's upset, but she's most likely tired or just being ridiculous. So you listen to her frustration but ultimately, and kindly, tell her to get over it.

But what do you do when there is nothing you can do?

As Peanut and I left daycare one day recently, I was in more of a rush than usual thanks to traffic, putting me way behind on my evening checklist. Despite being forced to wait an extra 20 minutes for me; despite the fact that she was one of just two children in her class still waiting to be picked up, Peanut was no worse for the wear. After all, she had balloons. Two. A yellow one and an orange one. So I loaded my arms with all of her artwork, homework, trinkets, and tools and we headed out.

"Do you want me to carry your balloons so we don't lose them?" I asked. "You can carry your lunchbox for me." Because this is the stuff blog posts are made of, she, of course, answered "no thank you."

And what do you think happens next?

Reenactment:
No balloons were intentionally harmed
during the making of this blog post
Halfway to the car, she let them go. Even though I warned her to hold on to them. Now I know what you're thinking, and no I did not tie them to her wrist like a good parent would. Read: in more of a rush than usual. Still, parenting fail.

I made a feeble attempt to catch them. But my arms were, as you may remember, full. And my vertical leap is, as you may imagine, lacking. Peanut was devastated. Rightfully so. I can still see the look of horror and heartbreak on her face as she helplessly watched those balloons float away to destroy the ecosystem of some far-away land. She herself gave her own feeble jump in desperation. Arms stretched to the heavens, tears streaming down her now sobbing face. Her screams echoing through the near-empty parking lot.



You never expect to feel helpless as a parent. This was my first time. The first time I could remember, at least. (And I blog about almost everything that happens, ya know.) I didn't know what to do. I wasn't prepared for this. Helping her grieve the loss of a friend. (I know that sounds ridiculous.) Despite our rush, I stopped. I entered that moment with her. Because however irrational this was, it was real. She wasn't making these feelings up. I hugged her for a long time and I told her I was sorry. That I wish it hadn't happened. That I wish I could make her feel better. She wept softly into my shoulder as I carried her to the car. As I buckled her into her seat I said, "You know where I think those balloons are going? To Popsie in heaven, so he knows we were thinking of him on Father's Day." (This was the Wednesday after Father's Day.)

She continued to whimper on our way to pick up My Director at the train station. That is, until I told her that was enough. After all, even the most present of dads has his limits when it comes to crying over a couple of lost balloons. And that was the story I was going to write for you, until someone rewrote the ending for me...

The next day we pulled into our driveway and were surprised to find a bunch of balloons tied to our front door. They were for Peanut, and they had this note on them:


Turns out, the "Balloon Fairy" is the mom of a boy in Peanut's class. Her son went through the exact same thing on the same day, with the balloons he had received from the same batch. As a result, someone had left him balloons from the Balloon Fairy. After she had heard the same thing had happened to Peanut, she took it upon herself to pay it forward.
Balloon Fairy: Who knew, right?
The kindness and thoughtfulness of someone who took the time to do that to make my daughter happy was nothing short of inspiring. An unnecessary, heartwarming gesture of charity. Those are the best kind. Some day we will do the same for another child. Thanks, Balloon Fairy. We believe.

The charity of a stranger helped us out of a tough situation during a recent storm. You can read about it here. 

22 comments:

  1. ok, I wanted to be all snarky, but NO WAY could I be after reading about the balloon fairy. Way to balance it all out, you.

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    1. I know, right. I feel like I had the appropriate amount of snark in there, and then the Balloon Fairy came along and got me all shmaltzy. See? I told ya.

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  2. That is sweet ! Children teach us a lot and people, even strangers who come into our lives even for short periods can touch and heal with kind actions and words.Yes! Hope floats!! And glad Peanut got her visit from the balloon fairy !

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    1. So right! Thanks for your comment! So good to see your friendly face here.

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  3. That is so unbelievably awesome.

    I was in a predicament the other day that actually caught me off guard for the first time ever. Oldest had to have 4 teeth pulled to make way for his braces. I am not a fan of the gas, so we opted for just Novocaine. I sat there unable to do anything but hold his hand as the teeth came out, each time he wanted to stop and knowing that the longer they waited the more the Novocaine would wear off. But perhaps the worst moment were not the tears, not the shaking from his anxiety, but when the last tooth went down his throat. And while he coughed it out after a few seconds, helpless was the understatement of the century.

    Here's hoping that in all your parenting years, balloon fly aways are the most helpless you ever feel.

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    1. I'm sure it won't be... but I'll take it. (I did use the word "ridiculous" a couple of times ya know.) ;-)

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  4. That's pretty awesome. What a great way to pass on a little good cheer. :)

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    1. I know. It was a pleasant surprise to come home to.

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  5. Great post! Little kind acts can have such an impact. As for your peanut... What a lucky girl.

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    1. She did love it! Was very happy. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. What a brilliant idea! Such a lovely thing to do for a child!

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    1. I know. I love it. Makes me smile every time I think about it. And I love how much you and everyone else who has commented loves it too.

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  7. I couldn't agree more feeling helpless as a parent is one of those worse feelings ever! How creative the "balloon fairy," I'll have to remember that one. I am sure I may need that one some day.

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    1. I know this isn't a big drama scene as far as "that helples feeling." We're blessed that way. But the feeling was still there and it s*cks. Would be cool if this balloon fairy thing "took off.'

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  8. That's so sweet. <3 I wish all papas could be so "shmaltzy."

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    1. Don't know what it is... sometimes the shmaltz just pours out. But if every dad did it... mine wouldn't be so unique. ;-)

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  9. <3 it when people pay-it forward! Thanks for sharing!
    Stopped over from the hop! come visit me sometime deezydoesiteezy.blogspot.com
    Thanks!
    Deezy

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  10. Following you from the TGIF blog hop - hope you will follow me back. Thanks

    http://vintageboomer.blogspot.com/

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  11. Wow! How inspiring! What a heart-warming story. I'll be sharing this one in the coffee room. Long live the balloon fairy.

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    1. Thanks man! Balloon fairy goes international!

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  12. "If you haven't any charity in your heart you have the worst kind of heart trouble" to cure it
    Help people, let's unite for one good cause, be a volunteer"save lives"!
    mawaddainternationalaid

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  13. thanks for sharing.

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