As if our appointment with OHSU yesterday wasn’t enough we had one thing on the calendar that absolutely hell or high water had to happen. It had been on the calendar in bold font, circled and starred for almost eighteen months. Hamilton in Portland! Jordan was determined to go and would have gotten out of her wheelchair and strangled me if I hadn’t taken her. So after our news from the doctor, Jordan squeezed in a nap, I made some phone calls and then we got all dolled up. Our friends drove us and helped me get Jordan to the door. I wasn’t sure how we were going to make our seats work because we didn’t have accessible seating. I called several months back when Jordan started using a wheelchair but the show was already completely sold out. So I did some smooth talking, we did some wiggling and I managed to get us into some regular seats. If you have seen how difficult it is for Jordan to move around right now you would really appreciate the beauty in that. I’m so glad we were able to make the show and we had a blast. We even scored the kids and Jordan some sweet Hamilton t-shirts (single-handedly paying Lin-Manuel Miranda's mortgage this month).
|A dress and the corduroy date night coat. Looking dapper!|
After a late night, the kids and I were on a plane at 6:00 this morning and headed to Orlando, FL for my sister’s wedding. It was with a heavy heart that we decided a week or so ago that Jordan would stay behind with her parents. We were looking forward to the family trip and had lots of things planned. But with a last minute audible (I made lots more phone calls as per my usual routine) we made the trip happen. The kids are excited to see a pool and a beach that you don’t have to wear your winter coat at. Oh and my family. Yeah, those guys too.
|What a typical afternoon of phone calls looks like at the Hassell house.|
So I get to write my first blog post at 30,000 feet all while Benton farts every thirty seconds (gotta have a talk with him before the return flight) and Parker eats $48 worth of snacks from Trader Joe’s before we even leave the runway (second breakfast is the best breakfast). I’m lucky to have two wonderful and independent kids that know how to travel. We got to breeze through the PDX airport this morning. I never had to ask them to stop touching something or to keep up. Parker and I got to race Benton on the moving sidewalks too. It is like traveling with two really fun friends. Also, they are cute enough to get extra attention from the flight attendants (extra Biscoff cookies for everyone!).
|Ready for take off!|
The flight is a perfect chance for me to reflect and process a little. Mainly because I’m strapped to a chair and can’t find anything else to keep my mind distracted. Just my thoughts and a little Wilco coming through the earbuds (and Benton’s odor).
I recently met with Benton and Parker’s therapist to give her an update and to talk with her about what I can be doing to help the kids navigate everything that is going on. She said something that immediately stuck: “healing happens in the silence" and “growth happens in the awkward spaces”. Boy, are there some awkward spaces right now. Awkward is currently occupying all the space. Awkward is spread out, shoes off, taking up both the arm rests and asking me to bring it a beer. Awkward isn’t going away anytime soon and should probably be paying me rent. When awkward shuts up for a second it is all silence. There isn’t a ton of silence right now (Awkward is an attention whore). But silence is on the way. Silence is waiting patiently for its turn.
I saw yesterday that in the awkward and in the silence there were people. Actual family and then friends that have become family. Just being present. Standing in that gap between us and what was going down. People struggled to do it over the phone and people struggled to find a way to try and let us know that they were wanting to do it from afar. But what I appreciated was that we had people. People in our corner. Good people. Some of the strongest, brightest and kindest people I’ve ever met. Standing there taking it with us. The full force of everything that was revealed to us. No words, mostly tears and the power of being fully present.
I think there is beauty in that. In the willingness to say to someone that “your path is mine”. No matter how rocky, dangerous or where it leads. It is what Jordan and I signed up for with each other almost thirteen years ago. As a bonus, we have had several crazy people along the way that have been willing to jump on this bandwagon. It is so good to have you with us right now in that silent and awkward gap.
|First unplanned pit stop of the trip. Waffle House!!!|