It’s My Birthday Mom
Normally my wife would wake up my son for school but this morning it was my son who woke her up. Still with dreamy eyes, my wife heard my son say, “mom wake up, it’s my birthday,” as he gently shook her shoulders. My other half said that she can’t forget how happy my son’s face was that morning. He was glowing with the most beautiful and transparent smile she had ever seen.
For days now, my son had been doing his birthday countdown. A week ago he told me with a huge smile on his adorable face, “seven more days dad!” He made me remember how I was as a child. I too would count the days when I could blow my birthday candles on my mom’s home-made chocolate birthday cake and open my presents. Back then, there were only two occasions I’m getting my toys. They were Christmas and my birthday. So yes, a birthday was “the big day” for me as well.
After school I told my son, “we are going to see the biggest birthday balloon in the world.” Looking surprised he replied, ” we are going to have huge balloons on my birthday?” I excitedly answered back, “yes, we will!” We both haven’t seen an air balloon before and what can be more timely that seeing them on his 6th birthday.
Every year, Houston is known for its fun and well celebrated Oktoberfest. One of those highlights is the Ballunar Liftoff Festival within the NASA compound. I’d been dreaming to see both the festival and the NASA Space Center for years now but never got the chance to make them into reality. Today, both dreams came true. It was breathtaking!
Our First Steps To NASA
I could still vividly remember the famous words of Neil Armstrong as he climbed down the ladder to make his her first step on the moon, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind, ” in that glorious and historical day of July 20, 1969. When I watch the replay in You Tube, I could still feel my heart pound in excitement and suspense like it happened only yesterday. It was this event that made every child’s dream to venture into space and be an Astronaut one day possible. It made them dream that anything can happen as long as you put your mind and heart into it. It made most of us realize that we can all reach our very stars. May it be the stars we gaze upon on a clear night or the stars we based our hopes and dreams upon.
My son together with the kids of my friends were all excited to visit the different booths at the festival. One of our favorite was the Kettle-cooked popcorn booth called Ma and Pa. The owner cooked a fresh batch for us so the kids can see for themselves how it was made. I could hear a lot of them saying, “so cool!” My son was smiling and laughing with his friends as he stared at the popping popcorn.
When it was time to taste them, it made everyone say, “Oh, wow!” They were so delicious.
Happy 6th Birthday
Before the first air-balloon rose up, we all got together to share a yummy Birthday Halloween themed cupcakes. We also had some all time favorite pizza and fried chicken. It felt great to share this special day among family and friends. It was in a true sense, a day of celebration.
If there is one thing children can’t wait to receive on their birthday, it’s getting their birthday present. As for presents, most kids only have one thing in mind, ” toys,” lots of toys.
My son kept reminding me weeks before what he wanted for his birthday. Every time we go to Target for our groceries, he would pull my hand and lead me to the toy section to show me his dream Lego Star Wars collection. He would read the age recommend section of the box and would tell me, ” see dad, this one I could build by my self.” And he did. He would also point to the other collections and say, “this one I could get when I turn 7 , this one when I turned 8 and that one when I turned 9, okay dad?” I would smile back and say, “well see.” Usually that’s enough assurance for him to hope that he’ll get them one day. I would whisper to him as we leave the store, “just promise me you be good, okay?” Smiling sweetly he’ll whispered back, “yes dad, promise.”
To me, the best birthday present is having my family at my side. To share the rest of my days surrounded by their love and laughter. To walk with them in following their dreams.
The Skies Glowed That Night
As the first air balloon slowly inflate. We all gathered near the area where it was. We were all excited as the fire emanating from the base of the balloon lighted up. My son and his friend were jumping in excitement as they play with their luminous rings.
As the American Flag waved in between the two balloons and the crowd singing the country’s National Anthem, I felt pride and honor in being a part of a beautiful nation with many possibilities. The words, “the land of the free and the home of the brave” lingered in the air as the air balloons glowed stunningly across the clear Texan night sky. It was amazing.