Monday, August 04, 2008

46 Months

We had a really heartbreaking moment with Lucas this past month. He faced loss for the first time and it was rather dramatic.

Ever since Lucas watched the movie, "The Red Balloon", he's had an incredible affinity for balloons. If we are at a birthday party, he must have one. He spots their presence in the world faster than anyone else around him. He simply loves their buoyant entities. So when we went to his cousin's birthday party he immediately adopted a red balloon, brought it over to me and wanted me to tie it to him. I connected it to his wrist and he bounded off to play with all of the other kids, his new balloon buddy eagerly in tow. He spent the entire day with that balloon following him around and it was the cutest experience to witness.

Late in the day, I noticed that the string had wrapped itself around his neck and while he was swinging and sliding and running around, I pictured his new friend silently cutting the life from him. I quickly went over and pulled the balloon from around his neck, then I noticed that the ribbon on his wrist was cutting deeply into his skin, apparently because I tied it too tightly earlier. I loosened it as well then sent him on his way.

As we were leaving my mom, Lucas' Grandma, made some snarky comments about the grooves in wrist and proceeded to loosen the string even further. Well, I guess she untied it completely because the moment we went out to the car, Lucas lost the balloon. It floated up until it touched the clouds and it was the most devastating thing that ever happened to him. The grief welled up within him until he could no longer bear it and it burst forth from his tiny frame in tears and escaped from his lips in anguished dismay. It was pure sadness, loss that he released that day.

Xtimu, Lucas and I sat down on the grass and watched Lucas' friend fade into the blue of the sky. Xtimu quietly told him a tale of magic and mystery. What he didn't know was that when balloons floated away to the point that they can no longer be seen, they turn into birds and fly down to comfort those who grieve. So, when someone lets a balloon go, they are sending comfort to another person somewhere out there in the world who desperately needs it. Lucas actually helped another person by sharing his friend with the world.

I thought that this was such a wonderful, beautiful tale and my admiration and love for my partner increased tenfold that day. Her heart has the ability to touch heaven and take whomever she cherishes with her. Lucas needed her at that moment more than anyone and I was so grateful that she was his mother.

Lucas ended up carrying his sadness around with him for a few days. He was delicate and turned to tears quickly, but we held him like an egg and loved him with all of our hearts. He is such a precious gift and he expresses himself with quality. He was drawing a few days later and on the paper he drew a squiggle, which is basically what he always draws, just different versions of squiggles and lines. Well, when I asked him what it was, he said that it was a balloon. It was at the top of the page, then he turned back and drew another squiggle at the bottom of the page and said that was the person who lost the balloon. Now, most of his drawings are loud and broad and dramatic, but this one was small and delicate with the expanse of the page between the two subjects. When I looked at his picture, I could clearly see exactly what he was striving for and even though it was two simple squiggles, it was also an incredible vision of his pain.

The creative spirit is the most magnanimous aspect of our souls. It is the healing personal salvation that we can harness and use for any purpose necessary. Through art we have the power to express ourselves beyond words and understand the conflicting universe that embodies each individual. It is beauty and sadness and anguish and strength. It is the dream of the world to discover a thriving community that respects the essence of life, the broad majestic spirit of expression. It is the whisper of every person's heart as it reaches for another. It is a path for those who wish to communicate, to touch the cosmos. It is a way for a child to search and discover themselves, to learn more about what it means to be alive.

Lucas is learning about harnessing that creative spirit. He is learning the nuances of himself and as a parent, all I want to do is help him focus his energy in a profoundly productive manner.

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