a lost balloon

Last night we went to a birthday party. Willa’s friend was turning two, and it was a beautiful summer evening for a gathering. Willa and her little friends played inside and out while the adults socialized over yummy food and drinks.

At one point in the evening, the kids grabbed a few helium-filled balloons and started running around the yard with them, pulling at their strings and watching them bounce back up towards the sky. Moments after the above picture was taken, Willa accidentally let go of the string on her balloon, and it floated up, just out of my reach. I glanced at the balloon floating up into the sky, first thinking about how we’d lost one of the party decorations, and then about how balloons are probably not the best thing for the atmosphere. But after those thoughts quickly came and went, I looked back to Willa, and immediately recognized in her her face complete disappointment. She looked so sad. Tears filled her eyes as she whimpered, “my balloon...”

Over the next hour, the party saw a few more balloons lost into the sky. At one point a cluster of several balloons floated up, up, up. Willa couldn’t take it. She cried and fussed and told us that she “was sad.” Once home and getting ready for bed, she repeated how sad she was about the balloons.

This is a new stage of parenting. Experiencing the world through a young child’s eyes. Seeing her highs and lows as she learns about all the little things that can make up a day. It’s so wonderful to see her joy, but I’m sensing this is just the beginning of having to also endure her sadness.