Last week Cedar and I took our very first trip alone together on an airplane to visit my family. It was a little over an hour flight, which sounds quite short but I still held anticipation in my heart leading up to this day. I had no idea how Cedar would feel during the trip...If the sounds would frighten him or if his ears would ache or if the timing would coincide with his nap and he would miss his routine and be weepy. I held all of the concerns I suppose any parent has. Will we sit near tolerant and patient souls? Will I be able to manage all of this alone? Will I melt down if he melts down? So many questions.
The night before I put us to bed earlier than usual to prepare for an early morning. I laid in bed and took many deep breaths. I closed my eyes and imagined the worst possible scenarios and with them, I imagined I handled them with grace and ease. I wanted to be in a space where I let go of any expectations I had on him or myself and just trust that we were in this together and will get through it and be in the arms of my dear family in the end.
Boho Boy stayed with us until he had to part at the demand of the security guard when going through security. He kissed us both and with a lump in my throat I handed my boarding pass to the security guard. She observed the three of us struggling to part and warmly smiled and cooed at Cedar. Then this other strong female security guard said "Ma'am it looks like you need a hand!" and she grabbed my stroller and folded it down for me and helped me take all of the baby liquid stuff out of my bag, all while I held onto Cedar in a carrier wrapped around me. Then once I went through, they helped me yet again on the other side. I was prepared to do all of this alone and was so in awe that others wanted to help.
Cedar remained calm as I walked him round and round the gates before we lined up for our flight. People stopped to coo at him. I began to feel a calmness. Then as we stood in line, an older man stood in front of us and kept looking back at Cedar. He had a scowl on his face. He carried so much stress in the lines between his eyes and around his mouth. At first I thought he was disappointed a baby would be on this flight. I suddenly felt nervous. Then this woman standing a bit further to the right of us joyfully waved at Cedar and winked at me as if to say "I get it...its all going to be okay." Through her, I found some strength.
I took a deep breath and whispered..."smile at the gentleman, Cedar..." and that made the man's face soften and light up. I didn't mean for him to hear me. He then turned around and proceeded to tell me about his two grown children and how one had five children and the other struggled with (in)fertility...but they had adopted a boy and a girl from Guatemala. He then took out two tiny photos of the adopted children. He shared all this without knowing my story, so of course I felt empathetic to him. He felt that from us and his eyes got teary. I then told him Cedar too was adopted and he took a deep breath and said..."I would have never guessed. He seems so much yours." I know it was an awkward thing to say but I knew what he meant. It was an emotional exchange. He found out he was in the wrong line and said goodbye with a pat on Cedar's head and we never saw him again. Cedar and I walked onto the flight and I felt like the man was a little angel sent to put my heart at ease but also to feel healed himself. I could tell that at one time, he struggled with the idea that his children would adopt and I saw in his weepy eyes that he has come full circle and has embraced them and understands fully how families come together in unique ways.
Cedar and I snuggled into our row. I wondered who would be brave enough to sit with us. I looked up and saw the woman that joyfully waved at Cedar earlier in line. She said; "May I sit with you two?". What I loved about her question was that the tone was full of hope. Again I took a deep breath of relief. "Yes, yes...please do!"
We spent the remainder of the flight giddily getting to know one another and Cedar was so calm and curious and lovely the entire time. We both found her so charming and witty and adventurous. She had been a single mom since her children were little and now they are grown, one living in India and the other a white water rafting instructor at Tahoe. She shared how important it was to her that they grew up with a sense of adventure and knowing how big the world is out there. When they were young, their family would take trips to places just because there was a deal on a flight. It didn't matter where...they just went. She was in her early 60's now and was applying to National Forests all around our country so that she could experience living and working in the woods. I couldn't get enough of her wild stories. She was so inspiring.
While we were sharing about one another's lives, she would take Cedar from me at the very moment I needed her to without me asking. She was so in tune with me, having traveled for years with little ones herself (and now as a grandmother). I felt nurtured and cared for and listened to. Cedar fell in love with her. He stroked her face and kissed her cheeks (wide mouth baby kisses) and laughed at her adorable and joy-soaked voice. Cedar also smiled at all who sat around us and I saw a calm wash over them when they looked in his eyes.
While we were landing, the woman had shared with me that someone in her family adopted and how special that little boy is. It was then that I shared Cedar was adopted too. She took a deep breath in and with her hand over her heart, big juicy tears welled up in her eyes. She said; "He is so very special and you two were so meant for one another. That is very clear to me." I then broke down in tears and laughter and no more words needed to be said between us. We wiped our tears and she patted her hand on my knee and we both nodded and I held Cedar tight as we landed. Before walking off of the plane, we exchanged emails and hugged.
I couldn't help but notice how healing Cedar was. To the old man in line. To the woman sitting next to us. To the flight attendants. To the teenagers sitting behind us. To the man in a suit and his laptop in front of us. I saw walls come down at just one gaze in his soulful eyes. This is something I will never get used to and always cherish when it comes to his gentle spirit.
What a brave and healing person he is. I feel so honored to have been chosen as his mother.
Will share about the sweet time with my family soon.