Thursday, June 23, 2011

Boys, Balloons, and Beyond

The Lord is close to all those who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth. Psalm 146:18 (NLT)

A friend and her two sons tapped on the back door as Lonny and I were getting the boys to bed. Her little guys held tight to the ribbon strings of a balloon bouquet. The balloons were bright, round, and plentiful. One Mylar had a big number six - for Gabe’s sixth birthday.

“We know it’s late,” our friend whispered. “But tomorrow is Gabe’s big day and we want him to have the balloons first thing.”

We didn’t wait until morning to share the surprise, and Gabe was elated. He tied the balloons to the end of his bunk bed so he could look at them while he fell asleep. As soon as the sun was up the next day, he bounded down the stairs with his still-festive balloons.

He held the balloons while he munched Cheerios. While he brushed his teeth. They were tethered to the bathroom doorknob while he showered. Then, without telling me, he removed the weight (a cool canvas strap with his name on it...treasure chest booty) and headed to the back door. He pulled the slider open, and then stopped to grab action figures from the floor. When he did, he let go of the strings.

The balloons were snagged by a morning breeze. They floated out the door.

When Gabe pounded to the kitchen and wrapped his around my legs, I knew something was wrong. He pulled me by the arm. It didn’t take long for me to understand what had happened. From the back patio, we watched the birthday balloons become small, dark flecks on the deep, blue sky.

I felt helpless for him. His six-year-old heart was broken.

“Gabe, I’m so sorry,” I said.

“They were so cool,” he said. “Miss Tammy brought them. Now they’re gone. Just gone.”

Gabe’s round, green eyes were sad. Very sad. My own heart broke, too.

Sometimes being a mama is hard. There are things I can’t change. Losses I can’t recover. Disappointments I can’t deter. Wounds I can’t bind and hurts I can’t heal. One son doesn’t make the team. A friend lets another down. Sometimes things don’t go as planned and balloons are lost to the sky.

At times like this, I am grateful for our personal, attentive God. He knows the boys’ hurts. He knows their needs. He’s faithful.  And he’s close. To hold. To help. To heal.

Balloons and beyond.

Thank you, Lord, for being close to my boys, close to me. Thanks for listening when we call.


  1. What a beautiful story, although it is sad, you captured his joy and the memories that cannot be lost. What a sweet gift, for a sweet boy :)

  2. It's so true, we can't take away all the hurts and prevent bad things from happening. One of the most difficult parts of being a mom, isn't it?!