Archive for August, 2010

My seven year old granddaughter spent several days with us after her parents’ visit. Though she has spent the night with her cousin next door in Dallas, this was the first time she spent away from home. We all had a fabulous time getting to know each other on a whole new level.

Still mourning the loss of her dog Zen, she told me lots of Zen stories over the course of her visit. Away from the family home, I thought, she was able to heal a bit from her feeling of loss.

On the Sunday of her visit, Bobby and I took her to a musical play at Stages—The Marvelous Wonderettes: singing and dancing, with child friendly songs from the 50s and 60s. She loved the experience and was the youngest person in the audience. Afterwards, we went to Cleburne cafeteria on Bissonnet, a Houston institution of sorts. As we left, she got the usual balloon they give out to children. She chose purple and tied it to her wrist. The Houston heat was still intense at around 6:00 PM when we left; the parking lot steaming. The balloon popped the instant it touched the metal of a car, and somehow, made her eye sting and burn for a few minutes. We asked if she wanted another—she turned it down. Enough with the balloons, her expression said.   

 A couple days later, we went to Central Market and the woman at the entrance offered her another balloon. She said no thanks, then changed her mind and accepted it, tied loosely to her wrist. This one was green.

We spent a delightful hour or so filling our cart with things she loves—lots of pickles and olives, some veggies of her choice, as well as some things in the sweet and non-nourishing categories. When we got near the car with our packages, I started to remind her to keep the balloon away from the hot cars. Before I could speak, she asked me to help her take the balloon off her arm:

 “I want to let it go up into the sky,” she said smiling.

“Sounds good to me,” I told her. The expression on her face as she watched the green ball disappear into the stark blue, shimmering sky was simply rhapsodic

“Mimi, know why I wanted to let it go?” she asked as it disappeared beyond the horizon.

“No, why?”

“I sent the balloon up to Zen,” she smiled. “I wanted to send him a present. He’s playing with it now.”

Maybe balloons don’t pop in heaven. I like to think so.


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