Up, Up And Away For Amazing Mom

Children don't always recognize the sacrifices their mothers make until they are adults themselves. But The Early Show knows all about hard-working mothers and has dedicated its latest Week of Wishes to amazing moms.

Sheryl Vine only realized what a great mother she had after she had started out on her own. So she wrote to ask for The Early Show's help in making her mom's wish come true.

She has always been the perfect example of self sacrifice … Now that I'm married and running my own house I'm continually amazed at how she could play taxi for all of us, keep the house sparkling clean, the laundry always done, lovingly care for neighbors and friends and still be the joyful person she is. My mom never complained about the demands we made of her … I know that she has big dreams which she has laid aside in order to raise us in such a loving and giving way. One wish of hers is to take a hot air balloon ride someday.
The Early Show teamed up with Phil Keoghan, host of "The Amazing Race," to make this special high flying wish come true, and to keep it a surprise right until the last minute.

Vine kicked off the adventure, picking up her mother, Patty Stewart, at her home in Stacy, Minn. Stewart had never strayed far from Stacy. Her house is a few miles from where she grew up. She met her husband on the job at the local restaurant, and five kids now call her mom. So even as they headed off to California's wine country, Stewart was still thinking like a mom.

"She's trying still to make sure, you know, family at home is fed and Dad's got enough meals and the kids get rides everywhere. She has a hard time relaxing," said Vine. "The only time she's traveled is to take her kids to college or on band tours, on sports trips that they needed to go on. She was always responsible for something when she traveled. So she's never really traveled for herself."

But all that time, Stewart did have dreams of getting away and, in particular, getting away on a hot air balloon.

"It's that adventurous spirit that's never had the chance to come out and that's just something so adventurous she couldn't even imagine doing, really, that it was just you know something wild that she wanted to do," said Vine.

After a day being wined, dined and pampered in California, it was time for a pre-dawn wake-up call from Keoghan, and a sunrise tour on a hot air balloon, who described it this morning as an "amazing, exhilarating" experience.

Co-anchor Julie Chen asked why that had been Stewart's lifelong dream.

"I think it came from Dorothy on 'The Wizard of Oz,' " she said. "I was young when I saw that."

But that was just the beginning of this dream come true. On the broadcast Tuesday morning, Chen told mother and daughter about another surprise, an eight-day vacation for the two of them in Australia, where they will be treated to two more hot air balloon rides and, no doubt, memories to last a lifetime.

To make this wish come true, services were supplied by the following providers:

Great American Balloon Company

South Coast Winery

The city of Melbourne, Australia

Air New Zealand