I recently had the pleasure of winning a hot air balloon ride. Yes, you heard that right, I won a hot air balloon ride! Let me tell you, it was absolutely AMAZING! I entered the contest without telling anyone and with my little girl in mind. She is a little dreamer and has been telling my husband and me that she wanted to ride in a hot air balloon since she was able to talk. We started taking her to our local balloon glow and launch before she was two and ever since she has dreamed of riding in a hot air balloon and touching the clouds.
We considered skipping this particular balloon launch and going camping instead. My daughter wouldn’t hear of it, even though camping is one of her favorite things! She mentioned once again how she wanted to ride in one of the balloons. We did plan a camping trip, but we promised her we would work the balloon festivities in somehow. We had no idea she would get to ride in a balloon and experience so much more!
The Friday morning before the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off I was finishing up her school lessons and trying to prepare to leave for camping that afternoon. Our hope was that my husband would get off work early and we would get an early start on our trip. In the midst of my busy morning I checked my email (which I rarely do) looking for an email about an entirely different opportunity I had applied for. The next moments were a whirlwind of calling my husband, confirming my prize, telling my little girl (she squealed with delight for at least an hour) and then the nerve racking part. Confirming that my daughter could be my plus-one. Thankfully, they confirmed that she would be able to go. Yay!
Did I mention I’m afraid of heights? In the midst of all of the excitement I forgot to take this into consideration. After the dust settled and I had a moment to think, my stomach began to wind up faster than a boy scout can tie a square knot. I began thinking it would be better if I let my husband take my daughter. After all, I prefer taking the photos. Who knew I would actually win this balloon ride? Then my mommy brain kicked in and I knew I had to do this. I had signed up to win this for daughter, my brave girl. Who better to show her how to conquer the world or at least a few fears than me, her mom! So it was decided I would do this. I would soar above the clouds in a hot air balloon with my brave girl. I would be brave too!
The next morning we were up bright and early. Claire was up the earliest. We know it was at least by 4 AM. She doesn’t even wake up early on Christmas! We arrived at the park by 6 AM and met the amazing Walker family shortly after. Bill and Linda Walker are the owners of the Honey Do and are two of the nicest people I have had the pleasure of meeting. They welcomed us into to their crew and made us feel like family. It was such a blessing. They taught us everything we needed to know about going up in the balloon and staying safe, including the proper stance for landing. We were also welcomed by other members of the Honey Do crew. I am convinced that we were on the very best balloon crew.
The Honey Do launched in the second wave of balloons and we were off. We were fortunate enough to fly over the lake and even take a quick dip. We saw the city from a bird’s eye view and it was simply breathe taking. There wasn’t a single moment of fear for me after I stepped into the balloon. There was just beauty and a feeling of peace. We were even fortunate enough to see a deer run beneath us. This was truly a day of “learning with style”, not only for my daughter but for me as well. We will be forever grateful for this opportunity and feel so blessed to have shared this moment together.
If you are ever able to attend the a balloon launch, whether it be in Colorado Springs or New Mexico, make sure you find the Honey Do and the Walker family. They are simply amazing people! They inaugurated us in at the end of the ride. I will never forget how special this made us feel. They spent extra time with us, told us a story, and shared sparkling cider with us. We are truly blessed to have met the Walker family!