Thursday, August 19, 2010

if i could go back.

i own a plane. well, part of a plane. this is alexander sitting in said plane. once upon a time, james was healthy. he wanted to learn how to fly. so he did. we bought a plane (along with a couple of partners so the expense wasn't quite so high). it was an old falling apart plane that james and my brother put back together. it took hours (and hours and hours) of engine rebuilding and learning things they did not yet know. flying was something james loved to do. before we had kids, we would hop in our plane for quick weekend trips. those are good memories people. fucking good memories. learning to fly is NOT easy. it requires ground school, hour after hour (after hour) of instruction (from a qualified flight instructor), access to a plane to fly while learning how to fly, and then logging a couple hundred solo hours flying a plane hoping to hell you don't do anything stupid and end up dead. then you must take a check ride (where you are scrutenized by yet another qualified person). said qualified person decides if you're good enough...have met the criteria....and hopefully you don't do anything completely stupid because you're taking the equivalency of a diver's test up in the air. mistakes are kind of a problem.
once upon a time i took ground school. and decided that *I* wanted to learn how to fly. and then james got sick. and i didn't finish. how could *I* fly the plane if he couldn't?! how would he feel if i was sitting in the left seat and he wasn't? the left seat being where the pilot sits in a small plane(you know, in case you don't know how small planes work)....
so i gave it up.
i walked away.
i put obstacles in the way of finishing.
then i had ethan.
by the time james and i had kids, he had already lost his medical (the FAA doesn't like people with heart problems flying around). so our boys never went anywhere with us in the plane. it was as if that chapter in our lives just ended. that was it.
i am sure my brother is going to kill me, posting a photo of him without his approval.....but....i happen to love this photograph. yes, that is my brother sitting in the left seat of our plane with alexander. while on our little trip (which i will discuss later)......i asked my brother to encourage the boys to take a ride in the plane. once james lost his license (and i walked away), our plane pretty much was flown by my brother (who also got his pilot's license). so when we went to see my brother and his boys last weekend, i asked my bro to encourage my boys to take a flight. the boys know their dad was a pilot. but since james never got to take them up flying, it didn't really mean anything to them. my hope was, that the boys be introduced to something new. something that perhaps ONE of them would love. turns out, alexander was quite excited. uncle let him 'fly' the plane. uncle let him take control of the yoke. they did some zero g's. which, btw, alexander totally loved! right on. lol... the kid is fearless. it was awesome. so, hope was that one of them would be introduced to some of the things that meant so much to their father and that they would like it. every new thing your child is exposed to could open the door to something they hold as a life-long love. it could be the ONE thing that changes their life forever.
will this be the case with zan and flying? i don't know. but i do know that i am so happy he went up. that uncle barry let him fly the plane. that uncle barry let him put the landing gear down. that uncle barry let him flip all the crazy switches (and dude, there are a lot of them)......alexander now has a happy memory to equate with the words "daddy was a pilot. daddy used to fly this plane". alexander wore james' headset. nice touch, though sad (to me) at the same time. bittersweet i guess it is.
now....on to what this meant to ME. i did not go up in the plane this past weekend. i wanted to. just didn't work out. flying a small plane is quite a rush. taking off, landing....there really is SO much to know, and do, and control. it was this particular day, while my brother took zan up for his first flight, that i wished i had not walked away. because flying is something i enjoy. if i had really wanted to, i COULD have finished. james would never have stopped me. he would have supported me. it was a decision *I* made. and one i wish i had made differently. i just couldn't see finishing. i thought it would hurt james. so i walked away.
i believe if there is something you want to do, bad enough, you will find a way to do it. i did not want to fly bad enough. i let too many obstacles/emotions/worry get in the way. i SHOULD have done it. finished. but i did not.
i am very happy, though, that alexander has now been up in one of the planes daddy used to fly. that flying was introduced to him. hoefully he will have the chance again fairly soon to go up in our plane. i want to build on this first experience. i am going to try and let go of this, regret, i guess it is, about not finishing. i made my choice. i know it really boils down to me not wanting it enough.


Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds like it has some totally rewarding situations as well as some stress. How cool that the boys got to go up in their Dad's airplane. This is something so connected to him- and now they have that connection with your bro as well.

Travel safe!


Melissa said...

You are an amazing woman and mom. I love this post for so many reasons, but the cliche of giving your kids did it in the most tangible way by encouraging your boys to fly. What an awesome gift to your guys, all three of them.

QuirkyGirl said...

This post made me happy...mainly for Zan. To have something tangible that says I'm like my dad in this thing. My hope is that he soars in this. Mostly for himself, but also to have such a shared experience.

Cari said...

that's just awesome....just awesome. I'm glad your boys got to experience what they did. And I hope your dream comes true someday.