When I was really young, our local Hy-Vee used to give free balloons to little kids. Mom almost always let Eric and me get free balloons, and it was basically the best gift in the world to a 6 year old. If that balloon happened to be light pink? Oh. My. Gosh. Don’t pinch me because I was totally dreaming.
Mom used to help tie the ribbons around our wrists so that we wouldn’t lose them (I think she was really just trying to save herself from our tears and possible screaming). We rode the entire way home in the back seat of the mini van with ribbon bows around our wrists and glorious colored sacks of air hitting the ceiling. Life was so good.
Once we got home, though, a huge decision had to be made; let the balloon go, and watch it float up, or bring it inside and keep it in our rooms until the poor thing had deflated to a crumpled piece of nothing. For a really long time, I kept my balloon for as long as possible- I couldn’t bear the thought of letting go of something that made me so happy before the last possible second.
I’m the same way with people. When I really get along with someone, and I mean really get along, I want to tie them onto my wrist and keep them with me as long as possible. People as special as a pink balloon are hard to find. Sometimes those people aren’t meant to be in your life forever though, and this is really difficult for the 6 year old in me to deal with. These people seem incredible and I appreciate their flaws and I want to spend the rest of my life living this awesome friendship with them. I occasionally get really attached is basically what I’m getting at.
However, sometimes keeping the ribbon tied around your wrist for too long will hold you back. The balloon will bump into stuff, make you unable to move like normal, and keep you from going certain places (like school, where latex is basically the spawn of Satan). Sometimes truly wonderful people hold you back too. I seriously struggle with understanding why I can’t keep all of these awesome people in my life, but I’ve realized that the tighter I try to hold on to people, the worse things get. I don’t always understand why I can’t keep them forever, but I’m learning that sometimes it’s enough to realize you simply have to loosen your grip.
I hate losing friends. I hate it so much. We used to share secrets and laughter and meals and hugs, and now we pretend like we never knew each other. It shakes me up and hurts my heart. I guess sometimes necessary things hurt.
When I got a little bit older, I learned about the beauty in letting my balloon go. It was still glorious and bright and great and I loved it, but it wasn’t holding me back anymore. I was no longer holding it back either- it was free to float to wherever its next destination was. People are harder to let go of. I want to be with them when they float on to their next destination, but I’ve learned that doing so would keep both of us from getting where we need to be.
I just really don’t like that I have to let go.