Joy Part 1: Red Balloon on the Ceiling

Always look up

Bright Red BalloonFirst there were balloons. All over the kitchen. I wept.

Then I looked up, and laughed. There was a red balloon on the ceiling.

How did he do that?

Then I cried again, got the coffee going, and went to take a shower.

My sweet son.

He’s surprising me, now that his brother has left home.

Then there was the shower.

Oh. So. Good.

Skinny jeans

What is it with women and their skinny jeans?

I’ve been in my fat jeans for three months. Black ones (to make me look skinnier). Come on, you know the drill. They are a size 6, but they’re my fat jeans, and don’t forget, I’m teeny tiny. Happily, they have been looser these past weeks. Stress.

This morning I grabbed my skinnier jeans – real jeans – and put them on. They’re not the skinny jeans, but these are my skinnier jeans. Size four. And they button, zip, and I can breathe.

Even. Sitting. Down.


Slow rush. Slow rush. Slow rush.

I sipped my Italian roast while drying my hair. (A nice change from the usual French.)

I put on makeup (haven’t done that in a few days).

Not too bad, I said to myself. (Rare, that I think I’m “not too bad.” Rarer still, that I have the audacity to say it to myself.)

I made my son’s lunch hurriedly, he threw it into his backpack, he grabbed his portfolio, and we drove to school in the rain. Yes, rain. Again. But this morning, there were no frightening left turns with his Royal Youngness at the wheel (like last weekend). And that means no new gray hairs.

Parental Pride Points

Last week I told my son I wanted to take him out this week, to an exceptional and entertaining restaurant he has been dying to try. (It’s heavenly). But the prices also correspond to “exceptional and entertaining.” In other words, not in the UnBudget.

He’s been achieving so much, so fast, and working so hard – I want to do this for him. For us. And I cannot, should not, and it saddens me. I’m struggling to find a way for him to redeem all those Parental Pride Points he’s been racking up of late.

Omelet with Ham and Veggies Cooking“I know I told you we might go out tonight or tomorrow,” I said. “But I’m worried about the money. I have steak in the freezer. I could make that for dinner.”

“No, Mom,” he replied, navigating the last turn on the way to school. “Let me make dinner tonight. For you. We’ll have omelettes.” 

And he makes the best omelettes on the planet.

My sweet son.

Slow poke

Driving home, I usually have to navigate scurrying squirrels and dog walkers. I frequently stop while a confused furry rascal darts around and eventually gets to the curb. This morning, I had to stop for a bird!

Apparently, he was in no hurry, and was simply walking across the street. I swear – he strolled. And I waited. Story of my life.


Sleep, and More…

Last night, remarkably, I slept seven uninterrupted hours. I have no idea why.


It is going to be a good day. I never dare think that way. Conditioning. I worry about angering “the universe” with such impudence. But despite the rain, and all the things to get done today, I can feel it. There is more to come. Check back. Soon. We’ll have coffee, and visit. And we’ll be joyful.

What brings you joy?

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© D. A. Wolf



  1. Franco says

    The greatest joy in life is your kids.
    When they do something special for you, that is priceless.

    I’ll bet you have a pair of shoes to go with those jeans : -)

  2. says

    Oh, thank you … it is true that the little things add up to a great day! Thank you thank you.
    The red balloons on the ceiling is an image I’ll take with me today.


  3. says

    Your writing brings me joy. My boys bring me joy. I’m feeling it in the pit of my stomach this morning. Not going to question why, just going to enJOY it.

  4. says

    Why do I suddenly have “99 Luftballons” in my head?

    “What is it with women and their skinny jeans?” I don’t know, but I’m right there with you. Slipping into my pre-pregnancy jeans felt better to me than getting my first good night’s sleep after Tiny Baby was born.

    Maybe joy comes from reclaiming the me I want to be?

  5. says

    Oh Joy! this write-up made me smile.

    My kids have done wonderful things for me just when I am feeling my worst for not being able to afford something for them… bless their hearts.

    But it means that you are a good mother and they have learned from examples.
    I receive joy from my children everyday. They give my life purpose. and joy from my parents I am blessed to still have both alive and in my life.
    My health. where would I be without that?

    You made me smile today- through the rough week- thanks.

  6. says

    Joy comes to me in the most unexpected ways. Usually it’s the little things. Like having fresh limes so I can make a margarita. Or putting strawberry jam on my waffles, rather than syrup. And my kids bring me joy – me taking care of them does that.

  7. says

    Joy. I find joy in my daughter’s eyes. My son’s “sleep” smiles. My husband’s hugs. Sleeping for 4 straight hours. A delightful dinner. Giggles. Hugs. Kisses. A warm bed. Cookies and milk. I could go on and on.

  8. says

    I am so glad glad glad for this post. I am sorry that I missed it yesterday. And I am off to read Parts 2 and 3 in just a bit.

    But let me just say that it is very telling of who you are underneath the organization of your mind and your words. I like the tidbits. The details. The you that is formed in the telling of these tidbits.

    Off I go…

  9. BigLittleWolf says

    You couldn’t be more right, my friend. On all counts! Et je te souhaite une très belle journée, Côte Ouest. Eh oui, j’ai de très belle chaussures, et comme une française, même en jean, on met du parfum, un joli chemisier, et de belles chaussures.

  10. BigLittleWolf says

    And wishing you a MUCH better week as well! May a plenitude of positive waves pass westward to your family! (These aren’t the regular jeans yet, but maybe by Christmas! But I’m nonetheless feeling good about a 4 again!)

  11. BigLittleWolf says

    Kids are wonderful. We have a tradition of “ballooning” our kitchen at times – it always cheers up the household, and my son obviously knew I’ve needed some cheering up. Such thoughtfulness – and from a harried teen!

    You, Notasoccermom, have had some hard weeks. So please share my balloons with me, okay? Joy should be shared. (And enjoy the spray paint!)

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