8/18/08

The gift of giving happiness


Yesterday, we actually ventured out of the house as far as Sunflower Market, Flynn, Mum and me. Flynn enjoyed being in her Baby Bjorn and seeing all the produce. I was glad to be able to go a few blocks without feeling nauseous. I'm sure my poor martyred Mum was glad to see the outside of the house!!
But the nicest thing happened while we were standing on line for checkout. We went at 4:15, which is apparently rush hour this time of year. Every checkout lane was backed up halfway into the store. We were just settling in for a long wait when a couple of kids from the neighboring line came over with two bright helium balloons. These kids (about 10 and 12 is my guess) were offering one of their balloons as a gift to three littler Latino kids who were in front of us. These kids did not speak English, and I think they were timid about accepting the gift. Finally, the smallest boy took the balloon, but he didn't understand how to hold it, so it immediately sailed straight up into the (very high) rafters while everyone (including Flynn) watched in fascination.
I was really loving the fact that those kids were giving their balloon away to these children they'd never met. What a wonderful lesson and gift for their parents to have taught them - for what is better than the joy of passing your own joy on to someone else? A random act of kindness. I love it.
Well, the kids retreated, discussed the situation, and finally advanced again with their last balloon, and silently offered it to the children again, gesturing that they would tie it around a wrist so that it wouldn't get away. But the Latino children were clearly embarrassed, and hid their hands behind them, shaking their heads "no". They didn't want to risk losing another ballon.
So, the older children went back to their line. A few moments later, however, the younger one, noticing that Flynn was still staring after the balloon that had escaped to the rafters, came back, and offered the balloon to Flynn.
Well, let me tell you, the joy that that child passed on yesterday afternoon with that simple act of giving was the most tremendous thing I've seen in a long time. Flynn's face lit up like I have never seen it light up before. She immediately grasped the balloon by its ribbon, holding tight (learning by example, perhaps, there was NO WAY she was gonna let that balloon escape!). Even when I tied it to her Bjorn, she still held tight to the ribbon, unwilling to take a chance. She pulled it down to her face, rubbed it against her cheek, let it unreel back up, pulled it down again...suffice to say that one balloon has now given her two days of unprecedented joy. She even took it on our evening walk with her, bobbed it from her ankle while she drank her dinner bottle, and was delighted to find it again this morning - a pink inflatable ball of joy bobbing up against our kitchen ceiling.
I tell you, if I could shout out to those kids right now, I would send them huge hugs and a big BRAVO for understanding about the greater joys of life. I would thank them on behalf of my happy child and for all the good they did my soul with that one gesture. It's little things like that that set a big, bright, shining light of hope for humanity burning in my heart.

Flynn arriving home with her balloon.

Look at her left hand, and her eyebrows...this is her "clench of joy"....every muscle in her body spreads out and shudders for a second with sheer happiness. More expressive than words.

Bliss.

...testing the limits....

...and retrieving.

Got it back!! Thanks to tall mommy.

pushing it down...

stroking it...

...petting it gently.

Nothing says happiness, it would seem, like a pink helium balloon. If my brain weren't so depleted, I'd think up something witty to say about the buoyancy of happiness.
Well, now we know what to give her for her birthday!

11 comments:

Julie said...

This post made me cry!!! Clearly I'm overly emotional right now :)
But it's a sweet story...

kris said...

Wow. What a beautiful gesture on the part of those kids, and I love her blissful face and happy clenched hand!!

Heather said...

That warmed my heart and made me want to send Flynn about 100 balloons!

fourlittlehawks said...

Oh Maia, that was a wonderful post! I wish that the parents of those sweet children could read it and know that their children had such an impact! You have been in my thoughts so much lately, and I'm sending very strong "Not At All Nauseous" vibes north right now. They should fix you right up, my vibe sending is legendary.

Love,
Jen Hawkins

Melissa said...

I honestly think you should turn this into a childrens' book. I know you can illustrate! I am an elementary teacher and the kids would love to hear this turned into a book.

Tish said...

wow...you can really see the joy in her face! what a precious babe...and what a kind gesture.

Sarah said...

I second the vote for turning that lovely story into a children's book. Must remember to keep tissues beside the computer when heading to your blog. : )
Just LOVE seeing all the pictures and stories of Flynn and flowers and things that catch your eye. You are such an artist and storyteller! Inspires me every time. Thanks for posting so generously.
Glad to hear you are better. YaYa also had fairly asymptomatic giardia and the treatment was the bitterest pills imaginable. Sounds like you have something infinitely better for Flynn, thank goodness!

Maia said...

So, so lovely. FF loves her balloons, too!

Yoli said...

I love this post so much.

thatgirlblogs (shelly) said...

Bennett is FREAKY OBSESSED with balloons. He talks to them, about them, looks for them, sings to them... looks like QQ is a kindred spirit!

Cavatica said...

Wonderful story... and I vote for a book version too. It's perfect. You coul dedicate it to those unknown wonderful children who knew.