Random blog note: Since I always type Cate’s name on this blog as Cate, but I almost never actually call her that in real life, henceforth I’ll be typing her name as Catie, since that’s the name she responds to, and how she refers to herself. Really, the only time I ever call her Cate is when it’s prefaced by Baby – because Baby Cate sounds like “babycakes,” and I think that’s sort of a cute nickname.
[/end random blog note]
Today, Catie and I went to the grocery store to get a few things. This particular store has free balloons for kids in the floral department, and they are a huge hit with my child. And you know, anything that makes shopping with a toddler easier is just fine with me. So we grab a balloon – or as Catie calls it, “a boon!” – and happily went about our grocery shopping.
We head out to the parking lot, and I held onto the balloon because it was windy outside. They typically anchor the balloons by tying them to a lollipop, but whoever was working there today must’ve been a moron who thought that a tiny piece of scotch tape would be enough to secure the balloon’s string to the lollipop. Bet you can tell where this story is going, huh?
I opened the driver’s side car door and pushed the balloon through to put it in the back seat, so Catie could play with it when I put her in the car. (She was still sitting in the shopping cart while I did this.) I accidentally left my (front seat! driver’s side! NOT rear passenger!) car door open, and went to start putting groceries in the trunk.
Catie suddenly started screaming and crying, “Boon! A boon!! MY BOOOOONN!!!!” She just went totally apesh*t shrieking about her balloon. I was like, what the hell, child, you just saw me put it in the car, you know it’ll be there when you get in the back seat, just like it always is, every time we get a balloon from the store. Then I finally turned around to look at her and I realized she was pointing up, and… yeah. Her pretty purple balloon was floating away into the clear blue autumn sky.
Apparently a gust of wind came through that was strong enough to rip off the Scotch tape, because the lollipop was still in the back seat, and the balloon went floating away through my open car door. By the time I saw it, it was higher than the grocery store’s rooftop and halfway across the parking lot, so there was no way I could catch it.
I calmed her down, and told her I was sorry, but that balloon had to go bye-bye, but we’d go get her another one that could come home with us. I told her to wave goodbye to the balloon, and she very sadly waved and said, “bye-bye, boon.” It was quite possibly the most pitifully sad, mournful “bye-bye” you have ever heard in your life.
As soon as I got the groceries loaded into the car, we went straight back in and got her another balloon, exactly the same color as the previous one. She was happy, and held a death grip on her balloon’s string the whole way home.
The whole incident reminded me of the comedian Brian Regan – and of course I can’t find a clip of this on YouTube. He has a joke about how kids lose their minds when they lose a balloon, and adults can’t understand their distress because there’s nothing comparable for an adult. He said to imagine if you took out your wallet and it started to float away. “Calm down, it’s just a wallet, we’ll get you another one.” “I don’t want another one, I want that one! That one was mine!” Yeah. It’s sorta just like that.