Two pieces of background information are necessary before I go any further with this story.
First, Ivie has a love-hate relationship with balloons. Specifically the helium-filled kind that fly away if you let go of the string, and then you're forced to watch them in the sky until they become specks and disappear, all the while wondering why you thought it would be okay to let go of the string for just one second. She used to love them. But then, on our recent July trip to Missouri, her cousin Olivia's balloon from Lambert's flew away. And Ivie was more distraught than Olivia was. That evening, and for days beyond, she would sadly reference the accident. And even now, 2 months later, she goes back and forth on whether she wants to accept the serious responsibility of a balloon when given the opportunity. She says she wants one, but then, as you get close to them, she changes her mind, saying, "I don't want one. I don't want it to flew away!". (We're still working on the correct tenses of verbs.)
The second piece of background information is that I don't generally curse. I add "generally" to that statement because I can't, in good conscience, claim that I've never cursed. Because I have. But it's usually only for effect or when I'm REALLY frustrated or hurt and nothing else seems to work to calm me down. But I also am adamantly opposed to cursing in front of children and, thus, am generally very careful to use such words only in the company of adults. Generally.
OK, so now for the story from yesterday...
We were at Harris Teeter (it's a grocery store out here, for you Missourians out there reading). We were pushing nap time, so our list was short. It included only milk, orange juice (since my parents are coming to visit this weekend), and deodorant (only because we had a Harris-Teeter-only coupon for it). As we were walking around the store, we happened upon Chris and Cameron Egan, a dad and daughter that live a few houses up the road from us in our neighborhood. They are the sweetest family. The parents (Chris and Lauren) are very friendly, and the twins (Cameron, a girl, and Josh, a boy) are mild-mannered, polite, and fun. Ivie adores Josh and Cameron (they're a few years older), so she was very excited to see Cameron at the store. And after passing them the first time, we ended up in the same aisle with them several more times before leaving. We joked that we were following them.
As we exited the store (and by the way we somehow forgot the orange juice, but ended up with bananas and 2 cartons of "Lil' Crunchies" - since they were on sale - for Macie), we passed the balloon corral. Macie wanted one, as always, but Ivie, as predicted, wavered back and forth. She finally decided to get one, after I promised her that I wouldn't let it fly away.
As Dale unloaded the groceries, I put the balloons inside the back of our SUV, with their strings safely anchored underneath of the diaper bag, and turned to get the girls out of the "car" shopping cart (which, by the way, might seriously be the best invention ever). As I stepped away from our car, out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the balloons squirt out of the car and appear to be free from the diaper bag. I reacted as quickly as I could, knowing that Ivie was sitting in the cart watching this transpire, and that she would be horrified if her balloon took off into the sky after I'd promised her it wouldn't. So I literally dove into the car to grab the string and save the balloon. And, in so doing, I SLAMMED my shin against our SOLID METAL UNC hitch cover.
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
I'm pretty sure it was the most pain I'd been in since childbirth with a bum epidural. And at least that was made better by the fact that it was at least partially expected and I had a sweet baby to show for it afterward. Nothing so cool about this situation. I lost all control of my mouth. I was laid out in the trunk, balloon strings safely in hand, just going off. It was pretty much under my breath, so I wasn't screaming curse words by any means, but I was definitely expressing my opinion of the incident loudly enough that Dale and the girls could both hear me. Clearly.
Seconds later, after the initial shock had worn off and I'd opened my eyes to look to make sure my leg was still in one piece, I glanced over toward Dale and the cart. And there stood our neighbor, Chris, alongside Dale, watching me writhe in pain after witnessing the entire debacle. The only positive spin I can put on this is that, THANKFULLY, Cameron was already in the car and did not hear my outburst. But I could just see that Chris was thinking to himself, "Wow. I've never seen anything quite like that before. You think you know someone. And then this. I wonder if we should put our house on the market and rid ourselves of these sinful neighbors?".
To add some levity to the situation, and to stick up for me a bit, Dale said, "Chris, you've now heard more cursing out of Amy in that one moment than I've heard in the 9 years I've known her.".
So I'm hoping Chris doesn't think I'm this horrible person that curses around her children, or anyone else's, for that matter! But, I'm telling ya - that was a whole lot of pain to suffer through for a silly balloon that probably wasn't going to fly away in the first place. I mean, after reading about what Ivie observed yesterday, do you REALLY think that her paranoia about balloons is going to lessen? In the least bit? Yeah, me neither. In retrospect, I'd have been better off letting it go and telling Ivie that maybe it would land at the feet of a little girl in an impoverished country and give her a fun toy with which to play.
And actually, now that I think about it, I think the rogue balloon was Macie's blue one, anyway. And I can tell you that SHE didn't give a rat's a$$.