May 05, 2007
99 red balloons
Yesterday morning before school, while With-a-Why was snuggling with me, I said, "Your sister will be home tonight." Of course, there was really no need for me to announce this news since it's all we'd been talking about all week.
"We should get 99 red balloons," he said sleepily.
"Yeah, 99 red balloons."
Later, when I was more awake, I thought over his odd request. Why 99 balloons? And why red ones? He had left for school, so I decided to ask the expert on all matters With-a-Why.
Boy in Black, of course, knew exactly what his little brother was talking about.
"It's a song."
"About homecoming? Like the Simon and Garfunkel one?"
"No, it's about communism."
"What's so great about the song?"
"It's not very good, actually. It was once on a list of the 100 worst songs."
"So it's not even good music?"
"Well, it's so bad it's good. That's the point."
By now, Boy in Black had called up the song on iTunes, and the music was playing in the background of our conversation.
"It's in a scene from Scrubs," he explained. "The one where JD dances with 99 red balloons." He showed me the clip on YouTube.
And so that became the theme of my daughter's homecoming. After school, With-a-Why and I went out to buy packages of red balloons. We spent the next couple of hours blowing them up and tying them to furniture, thinking all the time about that plane that was crossing the ocean. With-a-Why insisted that we leave lots of the balloons rolling around on the floor loose so that we could kick them when we danced. By the time Boy in Black came back from the grocery store, picking up Shaggy Hair and Skater Boy from school on his way, the room was beginning to fill with red balloons.
"I'll figure out the chords," Boy in Black said. "Skater Boy, you take the drums. Someone download the lyrics ...."
Older Neighbor Boy and Philosophical Boy arrived with guitars and amps, and began practicing the song.
We had to take two cars to the airport, picking up Blonde Niece on our way, and we got there way early. The small airport was quiet. The gang of teenagers amused themselves by leaping over posts, running up the down escalators, and racing each other on the wide, empty staircases. My husband kept calling and checking on the status of the flight. "It's on the ground!"
When my daughter finally came walking through the big white doors, everyone was fighting to hug her first. She was carrying presents because she couldn't fit them all into her suitcase. She looked beautiful and happy and just the same. She was laughing and handing out gifts and trying to talk to everyone at once. She pulled bags of candy from her overly full carry-on and tossed them to the boys as we stood in a big clump in the baggage claim area, her brothers shoving each other and jockeying to stand the closest to her.
And then we brought her home to a room full of 99 red balloons so the boys could serenade her with a song about communism.
Posted by jo(e)