the fear? BALLOONS! the reason? flashback! I am three years old and am running at top speed BANG! right at my heels BANG! Just ahead of me…I pause for a minute and look back and BANG! at my feet again…the culprit? my seven year old brother and a box of snap caps…the ones that surely are comprised of a smidge of explosive gunpowder wrapped up in a delicate little package…that when you throw them to the ground…BANG!
It only gets better from there…a little bit older and it was lit m-80’s. As an adult, I have a serious phobia of balloons. Yes it is true, just ask my children. I used to tell them I was allergic so they wouldn’t think of bringing them near me. Now, they know the whole story.
These days I try to be brave. A dearest friend was having an open house at her bakery a few weeks back and she asked if I could order and pick up some helium balloons. I took a deep breath and called the local grocery store and ordered four helium balloons. I truly expected that they would be of regular size. You know the ones, about the size of a child’s head. Well guess what?! Much to my horror, these balloons were almost three times the size of my own head! And here I was in the market, I had to hold them and attempt to look non-commitable as I waited in line to purchase them. I must have looked quite interesting…four hunormous pink and red stalkers, looming dangerously close to my delicate ears. I cringed the whole time as I leaned my head to one side in case they popped…my left hand stretched up and stiff in order to keep them as far away from me as possible. I talked quietly to myself and continued to try to go to my happy place. That’s when it happened…a very jolly elderly gentleman behind me in line struck up a conversation and if you can believe it, it had nothing to do with the balloons. I was shocked. He began asking questions about…my jeans…drawstring tie, boot cut…’just like the ones I was issued in the Navy!’ he said, ‘are those men’s pants?’ ‘why no…Unionbay Jeans…for women’ I assured him as I smiled, accepting his kind compliment to how I fit into them. Seriously? And it did not stop there. In his effort to comfort me I suppose, he piped up to the rather amused cashier that he had just seen me floating across the nearest town…and then he asked if I would like help getting them to the car…in the event my feet leave the ground as I stepped outside. ‘I think I’m all set’ and ‘thank you though’ I kindly replied.
The distress did not end there…we had a carful of our family and really no place for the balloons. We crammed them in, (my husband crammed them in as I cringed on the opposite side of the car, sure they would all pop then and there…but they didn’t. It took a bit but at last they were in…limiting my ability to see. And then I drove…slightly hysterical that one would surely pop and I would veer the car into oncoming traffic! To top it off, I had to stop at two places prior to arriving at the bakery. On the first stop, while I was fetching something from another nearby market, one of the balloons popped, leaving one child crying and slightly hard of hearing. I thanked God in heaven I was not in the car when it happened and offered condolences to my son…(not that he could hear me).
One more stop and then we made it to the bakery where I leaped out of the car as soon as I put it in park. I implored my husband to remove them from the car and to tie them on the building sign outside of the bakery. He graciously did so…I was so thankful!
Needless to say, the open house was fun and a success and still somewhat overshadowed by the sheer terror of those larger than life balloons…
Funny how our childhood sometimes dictates our life as an adult! Made me think honestly about my own children…how much I love them and how funny they think it is that their Mama is scared of balloons! I also thought about the love and faithfulness I have for my friend…a love that gave me the courage to face my fear of balloons. I would love to say I won the battle…at the very least, it provided me with some humor to write this post!