If I had to choose between transporting a dingo in my car or a balloon in my car, I’d choose the dingo.

I fear the sound of popping balloons that much.

Back in Ohio, the boys’ preschool started to spiral out of control with parental one-ups-manship. Someone brought in heart-shaped balloons to give to the kids at a Valentine’s Day party. The next event, the mom in charge brought larger balloons. Then, the next event, even larger, punching balloons were handed out. Frankly we moved to Omaha before the school began to look like the house from “Up” and I would have to be medicated.

So, when we were in Old Market having lunch at Spaghetti Works with the boys, I went into Super Distraction Mode when the boys started to spot other children with balloon sculptures clutched in their sweaty little hands. “Look at that cool, old phone booth! Are you excited about getting ice cream later? Look! I’m balancing a pony on my nose!” Let me tell you, that balloon artist was not only a talented twister, she was a stealth-like ninja. I didn’t even see her coming.

And that is how it came to be that we had a balloon alien and a snake in our possession. Thankfully because of the high winds this past weekend, we were able to convince the boys to drop-off the balloons in the back of the van before we walked around Old Market. And thankfully, they remained there for days.

I had hoped they would quickly lose air and be forgotten.

The Gods of the Winds had other plans.

Perhaps you were outside on Tuesday around noon and in the distance heard it — the sound of a thousand hearts breaking; the sound of the earth stopping on its axis; the sound of puppies scrambling to cover their eyes with their little paws. Yes, it was the sound of my youngest son when he discovered his alien had blown out of the back of the van while I was loading him in his car seat. I had opened the tailgate in preparation of loading our groceries and didn’t even notice the balloons were gone until a Costco employee approached me with the snake and asked if it was mine.

Uh-oh.

Where’s the alien?

I had secretly hoped for the demise of the alien. The guilt, combined with my son’s broken heart, made me circle that parking lot for 10 minutes trying to see if the balloon was under a car, in the bushes or in the empty lot next door. I even ran inside the store to inquire with the greeter if anyone had turned in a balloon alien. (I think he thought I had already taken a nip from my bottle of Kirkland margaritas. mmmmmm … I wish.)

I tried to convince Oliver that the mother ship had beamed the alien aboard to return him back to his home planet. My attempt at humor was greeted with tear-filled eyes and a request to, “be serious, Mommy.”

Finally we had to accept the alien was gone. I guess I can only hope some other little boy or girl found the alien and is enjoying it as much as my boy did … and that the mom or dad is cursing and hoping the damn thing doesn’t pop in their car.

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