Being the Balloon

“What it’s like to be the balloon, when someone lets go of the string.”   – from Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Reading that line out of context can, no doubt, conjure up many different images and emotions. As I read those words in the context in which they were written by Jodi Picoult in Small Great Things for the first time a couple of days ago, they brought tears to my eyes.

Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult

Here’s the context

Ruth is the protagonist. She is a seasoned labor and delivery nurse, a mother, and the widow of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan. This is her reaction when her mother dies:  “What it’s like to be the balloon, when someone lets go of the string.”

Well said, Ruth!

The sentence stopped me in my tracks. With Mother’s Day in the United States just over a week away, reading those words were especially poignant. My mother died in 1993. I keep thinking the next Mother’s Day will be easier, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Many people in the United States mean well, but they have fallen into the habit of wishing every female a “Happy Mother’s Day.” For many of us, it is not a particularly happy day. I have no mother. I am not a mother. Many women desperately want to have children but have not been able to have even one child. Mother’s Day is painful for them. Being wished “Happy Mother’s Day” by uncaring friends and total strangers just rubs salt in their wounds.

So, this Mother’s Day, count your blessings if you are a mother or still have one. And please be mindful and considerate of those of us for which Mother’s Day is not a happy day.

Until my next blog post

I hope you have a good book to read. If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.


7 thoughts on “Being the Balloon

  1. Hi Janet 😊
    My closest friend has never been married and her mother is still alive. She has four rescued cats. She told me last Mother’s Day she didn’t mind being wished Happy Mother’s Day because she mothers 4 cats… My Mother passed away in 2002. And yes, there is still a painful void left in my heart. I have two adult sons. Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day for me. I truly do understand Janet…thank you for the reminder. Too many of us “just do” and don’t mean to be thoughtless. I wish for you a wonderful day, my friend 🌷xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Never thought about how hurtful those words are to some people. Personally I don’t like any “happy holiday” it is all advertisement for companies to gain money. Even though I am a mother, I don’t care if people don’t wish me me a “happy mother’s day” not do I care if that day even exists. But since that day does exists, it brings a lot of thoughts like the bad relationship I have with my mother and my relationship with my kids. But what you said is beautiful, everyday is a blessing to change the relationship we have with the people that are still with us. I look forward even more to read this book now!! I gotta go and find it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you that all the holidays have become commercialized. We are bombarded with advertisements and too much emphasis is put on “buy, buy, buy!” — as if material things will make us happy. I am so very sorry that you do not have a good relationship with your mother. I hope you and she will find a way to mend whatever hurt stands between you. I had a wonderful mother, so on Mother’s Day I do have happy memories of that relationship. I’m very fortunate that I had two wonderful parents and grew up in a loving home where I always felt loved and safe. On Mother’s Day (and every day) I do have that to be thankful for.

    I hope you find Small Great Things. I think you’ll be able to identify with Ruth. The book is about race relations, but it could have just as easily been about religious prejudice. I think you would enjoy any book you can find written by Jodi Picoult.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you are recommending it than it’s definitely worth giving it a try to find any of his book. I am glad that at least you have good memories to look forward during that day and thank you for your well wishes, it means a lot =) Having a safe and loving environment during childhood is so so crucial. I just hope I can do the same for my children but honestly I feel like I am failing at it =(

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrea, I can’t imagine that you are failing as a parent! No! Never think that! I think all parents have self doubts. In today’s complicated world, that’s probably more true than ever before. Have faith in yourself. If my mother were here, she would tell you to “take one day at a time.” That was her motto, and it served her well. Please try to stop having negative thoughts about yourself as a mother. Make a list of all the things you do well. I think you’ll be surprised at how many things you’re good at.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Janet for your lovely and warm advise. I will take it for sure, one day at a time! I know I sound negative but I just want to always do better. Now that I am a parent, I have learned so much about my own mother. First, we are human beings, we are not perfect and have so many problems and challenges. I never thought of my mom as a person before, I always thought of her a super being without flaws and weaknesses.

    Liked by 1 person

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