Sunday, November 23, 2008

PROFILES in CHARACTER Part 1 BALLOONS TO THE MOON

Character is one of the most important things we possess. Character is why you do the right thing when no one is looking...or when you know it will cost you...lack character is why I didn't vote for Obama...or McCain...some might argue that's a sign of my lack of character...only time will tell...



This is the first in a series of stories that I believe show character...the kind you can't teach someone...only refine and encourage if they have it...



Balloons to the Moon


My youngest daughter lacy is almost nineteen now...in her first year of college down in LA at AMDA(sorry, I had to go take a shot of Geritol® and chase it with some PatrĂ³n)...very talented...and beautiful like her mother. This story goes back many years though...to when Lacy was very young...and loved balloons...

Balloons are a magical thing to children...if you don't believe me, go to Disneyland and see how earnestly all of the small children watch the balloon vendors...and then try and remember how much you loved them...


Balloon lovers come in three basic types...those who love to watch them float up in the sky...those who love to play with them...and those special few who take them home...tie them to their bedpost...look at them with awe and wonder for days...and gently mourn when they finally deflate...Lacy was the Queen of that last group when she was growing up.


I still remember the first balloon that got away from Lacy...I had to go back in the restaurant and get another one for her...from that time one, I tried to get two whenever I could, just for back-up. The day finally arrived when there was no back-up...and no more balloons...Lacy was inconsolable...I quickly made up a story about the moon being Heaven for balloons...that's where all of the popped ones went...you get the idea...she looked at me with the skeptical acceptance that only a three year old can muster...she didn't lose many balloons after that, but she handled it OK when she did...I only told her the story that one time...and then it faded into memory...or so I thought...


Chance, our only son, was born when Lacy was six and a half...she was always a wonderful big sister, and there was an almost mystic symbolism watching her tie them to his small wrist, as if passing the awe and wonder to him through the loving act...


Then the fateful day...Lacy, Chance and I left the store after grocery shopping...each of them clutching a balloon, the last two in the store, mind you...me with my arms full of groceries...Chance's balloon slipped from his hand(he was much too big to have them tied on anymore) and there was no way for me to grab it...tears like rain as it floated away...now he was inconsolable...until I heard Lacy's soft, sweet voice...
"Chance? Do you know why balloons go up in the sky?"
"No..."
"So they can go to the moon..."
"Why?"
"Look...can you see the man in the moon? Do you know why he's there? The moon is Heaven for balloons that pop...balloons that fly away miss their mommies and daddies and can't wait to be with them...that's why your balloon left...it's going to Heaven to be with its family..."
"Isn't your balloon lonely too?"


The moment of truth...Lacy still loved to take her balloons home...tie them to her bed...


"Yes it is...but my balloon was the older balloon...it wanted to give your balloon a head start..."


And with that...she let it go...and held her little brothers hand as they watched the balloons race toward the moon...


Lacy didn't get to take a balloon home for a long time after that...Chance had decided(as only a two year old can) that no balloon should have to wait to be with their mommy and daddy...they should all be free to go to Heaven...


That wasn't the way I told the story to Lacy...she added things on her own that she knew would comfort her brother...and then she sacrificed something that was more precious to her than gold...


For this, and more reasons that I can count, I'm proud of my daughter's character...


I love you, Little Miss...











3 comments:

cnoelnm said...

What a wonderful story ... I have tears running down my face. I miss you too, Lacy!

neilbsmith78 said...

my eyes just teared up. seriously.

Singer416 said...

What a beautiful story and what a beautiful girl. Lacy is such a joy to be around. I sincerely hope we get to spend more time with her while she's down here.

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Christopher Blake is a loving husband...devoted father...minister...crippled ex-cop...screenwriter...novelist...actor...and more than a little rough around the edges...