After last night, I decided that I will go to space in my lifetime. If you think that is a joke, that’s just what I’m writing about.
A month ago my son and I drove through Hunstville, Alabama and got out of the car to look at the Saturn 1B rocket. One Hundred and forty feet tall and weighing over 1.3 million pounds this iconic vertical rocket was a workhorse and paved the way for the Saturn V rocket that carried the first Americans to the moon. My son strolled over to the base and began trying to unlock the fence so he could have a closer look. He told me that he wanted to “start it up” and “go to space.” We stood talking about it for a while and I told him it was old and didn’t have any gas. We agreed that one day we would come back and when we did we would bring the lawnmower gas can. Surely we would be able to get it started…
Last night I had just finished reading a few pages of The Wind in the Willows to him before bed. It’s a small children’s book that we have been working on for a few weeks and he has become interested in some of the characters. He was in his pajamas sitting on the lower bunk of his bed listening quietly which is quite rare for someone that always seems to have just finished a case of Red Bull. I was sitting on a bean bag chair in the floor. Several times while I was busy animating these characters, he climbed down into my lap and made sure he was as close to me as possible. For me, this is as good as life gets. He watches me, he copies my style, he tries to be like me and that means enormous pressure to live up to that example he deserves. Halfway reading now and halfway thinking about how lucky I am, I found a good stopping spot. I was promptly forced to finish reading about Toad and why he was dressed as a washer woman. It was about that time when he asked me about the rocket ship again.
It was his deep, grown-up voice and very serious face asking me to fulfill my end of the bargain. One day I could take him up to Huntsville, take some gas, and ask the people that own the rocket if we could take it for a ride. My heart always swells up with pride when he is able to articulate himself so well. I want to give this boy a rocket. How could I not? His dreams and practical way of looking at the biggest problems have a way of breaking down the mind-forged manacles of a grown-up’s reality. I began the old you can do it speech that new age parents are want to give their kids. “You can do it. You are awesome.” I then worked my way into the ”study hard and work at it” talk. Then, it hit me. I want to go to space myself. I have for a long time. Why am I not committed? Why do I not believe it myself? It’s possible. Commercial service in a few more years maybe. I can tell him all day long that he can accomplish his wildest dreams but showing him is something altogether different. What have I done to show him that indeed he can go to space? Sometimes I feel like I am the teacher and he learns bits and pieces of what I try to give him but last night, I realized that we had switched roles and I was once again the student.
I WILL go to space in my lifetime. Maybe, I’ll talk his mother into letting him go too.