My parents had a knack for making life magical for me — snow picnics, birthday breakfast tables, a dress-up closet — and it's something I'd like to pass on to the 7-year-old in my life. When a clutch of helium balloons was abandoned after a bridal shower I tended bar for, I knew just how to put them to use...
Now, I might not have ever gone out and bought helium balloons to hide in his bathtub, but if I had it would have been totally worth it for the shouts of happy surprise when the shower curtain was pulled back. There was a serious amount of giggling and silliness and "Huh?"-ing to be done, along with my straight-faced insistence that the balloons were to stay in the shower and we would all just have to deal with it. Bathtime finally got underway, and once it was over he got down to the serious business of balloon wrangling.
I'd tied all of the balloons to the awesome rubber animals he'd received for Christmas, and they hung out like that for a while (the perfect height for punching), but then one by one he set them free. They spent a weekend huddled in the vaulted ceiling of our living room, making the creepiest noises whenever air currents caused them to scrape against the ceiling. Then it was decided that they should be redistributed throughout the house for maximum enjoyment, so we took turns jumping to get them down and have since lived with at least one balloon in each room.
In Give The Gift Of Experience, I wrote about creating bits of wonder for our roommates and partners, because our fellow grown-ups definitely need a little magic amongst all the paperwork and drudgery. As for doing it for a kid, it's a total honor, if a rather self-serving one, because living in a house full of balloons is really, really fun.
(Image credits: Tess Wilson)