Leaving On a Jet Plane

It’s been awhile since I’ve written – not because there hasn’t been anything worthy of writing, but I just haven’t felt the urge.   Hopefully you sense my passion in writing  – for me, that’s a part of the process.  I must feel it so…well…so you can feel it.

No worries, folks – I still have seven single-spaced pages of topics to write about.  Today’s post wasn’t on that list, but someday soon I will get back to that list.  Today’s post has been brewing for two weeks.  Today Tucker left for the weekend…so I can write this without him barging in wondering why I’m sobbing.

Two weeks ago I had a week-long leadership training on the East Coast. I flew with a friend on the way there, but flew alone on the way home.

I was quite early for my flight, so I had plenty of time to people watch.  I’m still fairly certain Darius Rucker was waiting for the same flight, but when I walked by him humming ‘Wagon Wheel’ he did not blink or turn my way.  He must have wanted to remain incognito.

I boarded the plane, stowed my carry on, and found my seat.  I pulled a book from my bag, buckled my seat belt, leaned back, and closed my eyes.  It was a phenomenal week, but I was relieved to be on my way home.  I missed my children, I missed my husband, I even missed the dog. I missed doing laundry and pulling weeds (okay..maybe not so much the weeds…but I did miss working outside).

Then the thoughts crept in.  The thoughts of the crash.  I began to wonder if everyone has those thoughts – rationally, I know airplanes are safe – but the thoughts still enter.

I opened my book to try to distract my brain…but my neurotic thoughts wouldn’t stop.

What if this plane goes down?
What if the last phone call was just that…the last phone call?
What emails did I leave unanswered?
What text messages did I forget to send?
Finally…if the plane went down would I have time to make a call?

That’s when the tears began.  I could feel them welling in my eyes and I was hoping and praying that my eyelids would simply swell to keep them all in.  Seriously, who wants to sit beside a 40-year-old woman who is crying on an airplane?

In that moment I thought about my children.  I knew Estelle would be devastated.  I also see and know her inner strength.  I knew people would be able to get to her and help her through.  She’s tough as nails.  She’s strong and independent.  She’s resilient, talented, and so very bright.  She knows how to stand up for herself and isn’t afraid to make decisions that SHE wants.  I knew all of this…

Then I thought about Tucker.  If I had a last phone call, what would I say to Tucker.

I’d tell him he can do anything he puts his mind to.  I’d tell him, “Even if you think you cannot.  You can.  You can because I always believed you can. You have conquered more than you’ll ever recognize.”

I’d tell him never to give up on himself.  I’d tell him, “None of us have given up.  Each and every person you have touched believes in you; from your Kindergarten teacher to your football coach.  Every person has believed in you and not just because we have to or because we should.  We all believe in you because you are remarkable.  YOU make us want more for YOU.  Now, believe in yourself, allow yourself to be loved and supported.”

I’d tell him to pause when he needs.  I’d tell him, “When your brain can’t do it, just close your eyes as I’ve taught you.  I know these moments bother you.  Do what we’ve always done; close your eyes, pause, and let your brain sort it out. Trust that your brain will, just give it a little time.”

I’d tell him to keep talking for himself.  I’d tell him, “I waited for your voice.  Let people hear your voice and your ideas.  They are worth every moment and if people try to cut you off, keep talking.  Your voice is the most important voice in your life.”

I’d tell him to advocate for himself.  I’d tell him, “You know how, simply have the courage to do so.”

I’d tell him to never let Autism get in the way.   I’d tell him, “This thing.  Autism.  It is part of you – sometimes a big part, other times a glimmer – but it’s yours.  Own it.  Realize how it makes you such an amazing person. Have pride in who you are.”

I’d tell him it’s okay to cry. I’d tell him, “Cry and cry often.  Think of tears as a cleansing of your sad heart.”

I’d tell him to hold his sister tight.  I’d tell him, ” Together, you are what remains of me.”

I’d tell him the truth.  I’d tell him, “You are the light of my life, the joy in my heart. Your eyes make me smile and your smile, in my eyes, gives me hope. Hope for all children – that so much can be accomplished when all things are done in love. Loving you and learning about how you tick has been a pleasure – and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

Finally, I’d give him parting advice.  “Fly Tucker.  Fly.  Do all the things.  Be all you can.  I know you can.  I’ve always known you could.”

airplane-md

Then, I grabbed the sleeve on my shirt, allowed my eyes to burst open, and pretended the story I was reading was incredibly sad.

When I arrived at my location my husband hugged me, Estelle hugged me and kissed my cheek, and then Tucker’s very large man-boy body engulfed me.

He turned my head and put it on his chest
He applied one hand on my back and the other to the side of my face
His chin rested on the top of my head
He squeezed and whispered, “Life is better with you here.”

You too, Tucker…you too.