It was just a matter of when.
My daughter is two. Two-year-olds are funny things because they're chaos as they begin to realize there is a larger world around themselves while at the same time wanting that world to bend to their will every few seconds. Taking a two-year-old anywhere is a gamble because you could either get a perfectly fine kiddo who is just observing everything around themselves or you could have a bag of unchecked emotions with a mouth.
When I had to go to The UPS Store (Yes, my life is riveting) I had to get a document notarized (Again, thrilling) and seeing as I wanted to be a good parent I took my kid with me rather than leaving her at home alone. We get to the store, a Dad and his daughter are behind the counter, and he sees that my kid isn't so thrilled about notarizing a document like I am; so he gives her a balloon. She then walks around the office with this deflated balloon, and I knew this was wrong, so I blew it up to a fun size, tied it off, and gave it back to her.
Her face was pure joy. She walked around the UPS store with it, she talked to it, and lost it a few times only to find it where she had left it which was by the card spinners. This balloon never left her side otherwise.
This morning we had to go to Lowes, so of course, the balloon had to come too. I was looking for a new hose and she was standing in the big part of the cart with the balloon. She turned and then a familiar crack made me jump.
She didn't cry. She didn't get scared of the balloon's death rattle. She just held the broken rubber shell in her tiny hands and then held on to me. I immediately asked her if she needed a hug, she said, "Yes, Daddy fix it?"
I had been dreading this moment and said, "I can't. The balloon is gone forever." She pouted her lip and began to nod as she nestled herself into my neck. I told her that sometimes things break and we can't fix them and that it's okay to be sad. I said to her that we need to enjoy the things we have and that she shouldn't feel too bad as I've broken many things I loved too.
I think this helped because she wanted to go and look at the Halloween decorations.
Now is she emotionally scarred? I have no idea. She and I ran around Lowes in the gardening section and had fun, but still, the death of a balloon is traumatic no matter the age. I saved the balloon carcass and we said goodbye to it as I laid it to waste in a trash can.
Today wasn't a special day. Nothing was supposed to happen of note, we have taken what has felt like hundreds of trips to Lowes, and yet a free balloon made a mark on my child and me. Maybe I'm going too deep here, but perhaps I'm not going deep enough? I'll contemplate on the fragile nature of balloons and their life as a metaphor for our frail human existence another day in another blog.
Today, my child learned about death and we ate animal crackers.
Such is life.