Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mommy, Daddy, Up High!

Hubby Hawks and I have a gift certificate drawer in the kitchen. It’s the dumping grounds for all things redeemable. Every now and then I open it and this wave of guilt comes over me. If I don’t cash these in, they’ll go to waste! I will be letting down the thoughtful gift-givers from whom these came! I will be a bad person, wasting hard-earned money, at the benefit of corporate giants! Nooooooo!

And that’s when I have these “cashing in” days where I run around town, certificates in purse, redeeming what I can and tossing what’s expired.

Recently I realized one of those folded up slips of paper stashed in the mess was a certificate I actually gave Hubby. It was his Father’s Day 2007 gift – the Father’s Day that hit shortly after Reid’s birth and his first as a dad of two. I wanted to make a splash. I was so proud of myself when I landed on a hot air balloon ride – something neither of us had ever experienced. It was unique! It was a first! It was not going to clutter up the garage! Done.

(And, oh yeah, I got to participate in enjoying this gift, too! I am no dummy!)

But as happens with balloons, and weather, and schedules, and planning ahead, it didn’t get done. It sat in the kitchen drawer, keeping company with a Ziploc coupon and expired Applebee’s gift card.

Until a couple weeks ago.

Just a year and a couple days after he opened his gift, he finally got to enjoy it. We did it. We floated, drifted, soared over beautiful, peaceful northeastern Kansas, spotting deer and smelling hay. We watched our colorful reflection in ponds and we waved to kids jumping on trampolines. It was great. (Minus the concern that the tops of our heads might actually catch on fire at any second.)

The hawklets came as well. Not in the balloon (please, we’re not REALLY hawks) but to watch us launch with Mimi, who babysat while we ballooned. They sat there in the field in their double stroller, eyes wide, taking in the balloon and all its colorful glory, and attempting to process. I was reading their little minds, as I love to do: What in the hell is this sheet tied to this giant basket and why do they keep trying to light it on fire?!

Then it was go time. Graham was crying, Reid was confused, Mimi was snapping photos, and Hubby and I were running towards the noisy flame, jumping into the basket, rising off the ground…I can only imagine why Graham was brought to tears. As we called out to him “Byyyyyyyeeee Graaaaaahhaaammm!” waving ferociously, he surely thought he would never see us again.

Two weeks later, he’s still talking about it. Over breakfast or before bed, he reminds us that this traumatic moment still races through his thoughts: “Mommy, daddy, up high!”

Yes, bud, we sure were. And, we’re going to get 50 cents off our next box of Ziplocs, too!

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