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My Yellow Balloon: A Story About Love, Loss and Letting Go

I remember those days when I was six and eight and 10. The world was not so cruel, even if I was young and full of worry. Days when I was easily lost in stories and films. Nothing compares to those days. The teacher rolled a cart with a projector into the classroom, fiddled with the film strip, and turned out the lights. Those movies meant so much to me, but none more than The Red Balloon

The Red Balloon Educational Film

It was the story of a lonely French boy who had only a balloon for a friend. A faithful balloon who followed him everywhere and never lost sight of him. Even when they lost hold of each other, the balloon never let him go. They frolicked and tumbled through the streets of Paris and their devotion defied a  gang who tried to separate them. In the end, the boy floated above the madness, above the gray city, by way of a giant posy of balloons.

I awaited the arrival of My Yellow Balloon with a sweet expectation informed by those spooling film strips of my Generation X childhood. A new story that might reach out to the fatherless this Father’s Day. A new story that would carry us above the lonely madness we were grafted into as children — and out of as adults.

The Yellow Balloon Fatherless Generation X

But, in the end, (sigh), My Yellow Balloon did not transport me back to 1972 and The Red Balloon. Nothing can take me back there. Back to the hope of being chosen. Back to the hope of a free-range childhood. Back to our little hands.

***

I wasn’t there when my father died, but felt him calling to me, passing overhead. And, now I see him on the wing of every bird that comes too close. A whisper, a tip-toe from my father, defying the rules of the other dimension. He says, “I’m here, Jenni. Never far. We’re part of each other forever and ever…”

***

Yellow Balloon Floating Away

My Yellow Balloon

My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge and illustrated by Erwin Madrid is a story for a new generation about love, loss and letting go. Joey loses his beloved yellow balloon. As it slips into the sky and he goes on without it, the color washes away from his world. But, then one day he notices the yellow balloon is reflected in the sun and, through its reflection, will always be with him even if it’s no longer in his grip.

One of the best surprises in this book is a beautiful gatefold spread that appears mid-story. It illustrates the separation between Joey and his balloon, which has disappeared into the sun and sky.

Here are some pictures I took that were inspired by My Yellow Balloon. I took them by the train tracks that near my home.

Are you fatherless this Father’s Day? Maybe you’ve been fatherless your whole life. Lift your eyes to the sun and the mountains, friend. This is where you will find help. Your help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. He will not let you fall. Though your father left you, though you’ve been crushed underneath the weight of his absence for decades, the Lord God has not slumbered through your waking, through your tears. He is your keeper! He is your shade and when you feel alone he keeps watch over your soul. Your beautiful soul that will one day float above this gray world. Cast your eyes upward to hope, to God, who guards the fatherless, who keeps your dreams. With courage we say, Happy Father’s Day.

Yellow Balloon

Yellow Balloon Pale Sky

My Yellow Balloon is available from Amazon.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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