Praying for a helium balloon on a Thursday

The hunter and the hunted

As a grown up (a claim I make several times a day just to reassure myself) I know that I am stalked day and night by a tireless foe; a hunter that I cannot defeat, avoid or slow down; that whatever I do, slowly and relentlessly, one day at a time, this predator approaches its quarry and that eventually, as the summer approaches, another birthday will catch up with me.

But it was not always thus. Once I was like my children, desperately counting the days (starting at 364) until their next birthday. And as Oliver’s 9th birthday approached recently, things reached fever pitch.

Party planning

We had asked him what theme he wanted for his birthday party and, after much soul-searching, he was unable to decide between Harry Potter and Skylanders. So he wrote invitations saying it was both, and that was that.

I may not be a fan of my own birthday, but I do love to work on a theme and so, if I say so myself, I rose admirably to the challenge. I put new spins on old games. A mound of flour was transformed into Hogwarts castle with the addition of a flag. Dressing up clothes became Mad-Eye Moody with the inclusion of a wooden (OK cardboard) leg. Pictures of Spyro were hidden around the house with secret passwords on them. And all with a level of secrecy which would have MI5 taking notes.


Ah yes, but did I mention that small people get very excited by birthdays? And frustrated by the absence of visible evidence, Oliver became convinced that mummy and daddy weren’t on the case at all. We clearly needed guidance. He began to make outrageously specific demands. We must play pass the parcel with a certain wrapping paper. We must play musical bumps with the music from “Ice Age 4”. We must buy a helium balloon on Thursday. Eventually Oliver had a meltdown*, in the middle of a shop, two days before his party. “You haven’t bought me a balloon! You don’t even know which one I want! You don’t know anything I want! I don’t want a party!” he screamed.

Well, quite. We actually had every intention of buying a helium balloon the following day and involving him in the decision. But he was basing his views of what a party should entail on what parties entailed when he was five. I was planning things for a nine year old. He didn’t trust his dad to take a simple request for a party and do it in the right way.

My meltdowns

Yet again, I find myself looking in the mirror. This is my standard M.O. in prayer. “God, help me through this situation. And help me by making this happen, that happen, the other happen and GOD YOU’RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING, YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ME!”

Or perhaps “God, this person is going through a tough time. Please help them. And make sure you do it by making this person say that to them, that person say this to them and ARE YOU LISTENING GOD, ARE YOU GETTING ALL THIS DOWN?”

…and breathe Paul.  Step away from the wheel Paul. Admit that perhaps God heard you, God cares, and God can organise a Harry Potter Skylanders party a damn sight better than you. He’s probably even thought of the balloons.

* Full disclosure: It is possible I may have had a meltdown back.

© Photo D. Sharon Pruitt
© Text 2014 Paul Brownnutt

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Being God’s Toddler by Paul Brownnutt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Today’s post is brought to you by Luke 11:11-13