Tell a complete stranger about a beloved family tradition

You open your eyes. You’re smiling. It’s a small smile because you’re a little embarrassed to admit your excitement. You definitely won’t admit to the small yet noticeable amount of butterflies in your stomach. Today is the day. Yet, part of you can’t believe it’s actually today. You linger in bed savoring this feeling. For just a second you wonder if someone will bring you breakfast in bed. Not going to happen. So, you slowly rise out of bed testing your new age. Maybe your breathing feels a little different and maybe you hold your back up a little straighter.

You take your time walking down the stairs. You even use the banister. You’re teasing yourself, holding on to that two percent of doubt that today is actually not your birthday but, as you round the corner and get a full view of the kitchen table, there it is. It wasn’t there when you went up to bed last night and yet now on the back of the chair that has been claimed yours is a birthday balloon. You smile shamelessly now.

Every single year for as far back as your mind can go, there has always been a birthday balloon on your chair when you wake up in the morning. It has become a comfort to you. It throws all doubts out the window. According to the balloon and only the balloon, today is definitely your birthday. Without the balloon, that two percent of doubt would probably increase exponentially but, you’re not really sure because it has never happened. And there the balloon will stay until it finally deflates on its own because everyone in your family knows that to pop a birthday balloon is very bad luck.

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