The Balloon Boy

imagesI was coming home very late on the train with a Latino family of five sprawled across a seat like little cupie dolls: a mother, father and three kids under 4.

The mother was so squat and round she looked like a cookie jar, while the dad had identical curves, as if they were cut from the same mold.

The kids were adorable, two girls and a boy.  I loved how the little ladies were dressed, in soft white muslin, tiny sandals gracing their feet, ribbons in their hair despite it being way after midnight.  The boy had on Levis and a tank that made him look as if any minute he’d be chopping down a tree.  But as his two older sisters slept in the crook of their mother’s arms, he sat on her lap holding three balloons.  They could have been a float at the Macy’s Day parade so proudly he perched.

I marveled how alert the kid was despite the hour,  and when one of his sisters in a dead sleep started sliding off the seat, he grabbed her knee pushing her back up.  Already, at 3, he was assuming duties as a man of the house.

I thought about what it must be like being this family…five mouths to feed, bodies to dress.  Train fare, food and we mustn’t forget balloon money.

It takes a certain type of courage to have kids these days, knowing you’ll no doubt be challenged with fiscal responsibilities, yet there they were, the Norman Rockwell of Latino families.

When I rose to get off they were still on.

“Nice balloons,” I said to the boy.

His mother caressing his arm said, “Mucho gracias,” speaking for him.

He and his balloons just yawned as I happily headed home.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
This entry was posted in Family, Gratitude, Home, humor, kids, Love, money, New York City, parents and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Balloon Boy

  1. micklively says:

    A most wholesome sketch: thank you Susannah.


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    I love the way you compared the mom to a cookie jar; it gave me a complete image!
    I bought a helium balloon for my oldest son at about the same age. I cautioned him about holding on tightly so it wouldn’t float away. He was sooo careful. And then as we took off in my car and I opened the sun roof. It immediately sucked his balloon out! Yes, we had to go back for a new balloon.


  3. Elle Knowles says:

    Seems he was ‘keeper of balloons ‘. Though sometimes I wonder why parents have their kids out so late at night when they should be home snuggled under the covers with dreams dancing in their heads.
    You painted a sweet picture Susannah. ~Elle


  4. Most people don’t think about the costs of kids before having them. I would expect that most kids aren’t planned! It’s always nice when it works out though.


  5. I have all these imagines sketched in my mind to make me smile for the rest of the day….especially that little lumberjack!


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