The Great Balloon Ceremony is what my father dubbed our Mother’s Day 2013 celebration. My mother passed away two weeks ago, before the month of May even began. With heavy hearts, my father told us that we would celebrate my mother with joy ~ as well as balloons and ice cream cake ~ in this world and the next. That is how Mom celebrated every other family brunch in the past and this year would be no exception.
Eighteen members from four generations joined at my parents’ home on Sunday morning. My brother and daughter were Skyped in from New York and Chicago, respectively. Each time we needed to change the scenery, I would hand my Kindle to my nieces and nephews to chat with their cousin electronically. My brother was passed around the room, by iPhone, from one hand to another. His daughters took turns saying hello as well and each got a bird’s eye view of the party room.
The sun was shining with a crisp breeze in the air. Eighteen shiny Mylar balloons, multicolored heart-shapes and ribbons, floated gently in the corner, glinting in the sunlight through the picture window. Finally, it was time to begin the gift to our mother, grandmother and great grandmother as if she were here. She could see us so much more clearly than we could see her, but the level of love was not lessened. We raised our faces and our hearts to the sky as we each took hold of a long colored ribbon. After a bit of singing, rising voices saying Happy Mother’s Day, and silent prayers of love and tearful messages of the heart, it was time to let each of them go. A rainbow of love gliding high.
They rose afloat, up and over, skyward, over treetops and houses, up into the great clear blue sky with only wisps of clouds to keep them company. We each shielded our eyes, looked up into the sun, and wished our respective balloons to go higher and bring our messages and rays of love further than the next. All for Mom, always, on Mother’s Day.
Yes, there were some Charlie Browns in the bunch, balloons wound and drifting among the leafy green tops of the tall trees in the backyard. But, gradually, as we watched, they blew in the breezy skies and freed themselves. I turned away for a moment, and the last one was mysteriously gone.
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