Traveling and kindness

We love to travel. It has been immensely harder for us the past five years. Since flying became so hard,the past couple of years we have really tried to incorporate more family adventures that involved driving. We have had some really fun experiences from San Diego to Mammoth mountain and I will always love road trips. Since both sides of our families live in different states, there are times we have to travel by air. Especially during the holidays. There have been plenty of times that we have had to cancel trips. There are also plenty of trips we just didn’t even bother planning, because we knew it wasn’t possible. 

Over the past few years, one of the biggest hurdles has been having to fly with two adults, out of necessity. I’ve flown with one or the other kid by myself, but it was just 1:1. Two kids that both need help, just didn’t seem doable. Gray will be 3 years old soon and he is now fully capable. Sure, he can get grumpy or tired. He’s 3. Of course he still needs an adult to accompany him, but he’s fine. Magnolia, still needs full attention. At any time she could have a meltdown, seizure, breathing issue, need help eating, drinking, etc. It’s much harder for her. Until this last flight, I couldn’t comprehend flying with both kids, it just didn’t seem doable, it wasn’t doable. 

Last night, I barely slept, I was anxious, but a different anxious. For some reason, I knew everything would be fine. AJ had to leave for NYC for work, so he scheduled our flight before his. He wanted to help get us through security and to the gate. It worked. As we boarded the plane, I told myself. Whatever happens, happens. It’s going to be okay. As long as Magnolia’s health is fine, everything else is a piece of cake. As we took our seats, I handed out Magnolia’s Hope cards to the surrounding passengers. The cards give a little bit of information about Mags and Rett Syndrome. After I handed out the cards and passengers read them, everyone had this sense of kindness. Empathy if you will. I could feel it. Usually I feel people’s stress, their annoyance, not this time. The passenger behind us, immediately stood to put my carry on bag away. The passengers next to us, smiled and greeted both Mags and Gray, while I got our the rest of our stuff organized and situated. The passengers in front of us, thanked me for letting them know that she would be kicking the seat, told me not to worry about it. (Of course I did, I held her legs down quite a bit from kicking). At various times during the flight, flight attendants and passengers were willing to help. Ironically, we needed very little. At one point, Mags and I went to the restroom and Gray wanted to stay in his seat. The couple next to me, agreed to watch him. If he got upset, they promised to bring him to the restroom. He didn’t get upset, he just watched his show. When I got back he said, “Mags did you pee? I don’t have to yet.” We were fine. We did it. I filed solo with both kids. Did we have some hiccups, sure. Mags had some breathing issues and her body was a little out of sorts. The kids were both up at 5:30AM and neither napped during the flight. Everything was manageable. Then, Mags got a little emotional at the end of the flight. I couldn’t figure out why. I kept trying to figure it out. “Does your belly hurt?” “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” “Are you hungry?””Tired?” None of it. She cried for a few minutes, then suddenly stopped. Once we got home, as we walked to our front door, Gray asked where daddy was. Then he asked where Grammy and Pops were. Right then I knew, Magnolia was just missing her family, just like every other 8 year old girl would. 

I am so glad that we were able to go on so many fun adventures over the holidays. We traveled to Aruba, then Texas, then back to California. We are happy, exhausted, and content. Traveling to amazing places and adventures is great, being with family is even better. 

Also, thank you to the passengers, flight attendants, pilots, airport employees, Uber drivers, and everyone else that we came in contact with that chose to be kind. When you don’t understand a situation and you choose to be kind, you may not know, but you make the world a better place for everyone, especially Magnolia.

AJ travel solo with Mags to Atlanta to see a Rett Specialist. This is how our 3 weeks away began.

I travel solo with both kids to fly back home while AJ travels for work. This is how our 3 weeks away ended.

Gray wants to be like his big sister, he wears a headset and rides in her chair. He does it because its fun, She does it because its a necessity. It’s the little things that make a big difference in travel and in life.

We are definitely Team Magnolia when we travel.

3 thoughts on “Traveling and kindness

    • I’m jealous of you all being together for a wonderful week in Aruba. You are such a special family and I love you all. Sheila

  • Jen, I am so proud of you and your family. I cried happy tears reading your words. Ellen nailed it—the kids are strong and resilient because of you and your husband.

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