The whirlwind of our holiday season is OVER. And it was one for the record books! We took the kids to New York, which meant flying- not only with 2 kids, but with all of Jackson's meds and equipment. I was nervous about airport security, about losing something, about the massive exposure, the cold, just about everything. But it was an incredible trip. We did all the touristy things we never do when traveling as a couple, and I have to say I was surprised how incredible it is to see all those things through your babies' eyes. The lights, the sounds, the shows- it's all absolute magic. We saw Mary Poppins on Broadway, The Rockettes, took them walking through SoHo, Chinatown, Times Square, and every other place we could fit in in 4 days. Em got a special carriage ride through Central Park and the richest hot chocolate you've ever seen. We decorated the Christmas tree at Grampa & Nani's, & had spiced cider & cupcakes. Mike & I went out to meet friends two separate nights. I can't even fit all of the awesome that occurred into a blog, because I know I've forgotten something.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the whole trip was the airport business. I know CFers who fly all the time with no problem, but having never toted our pharmaceutical circus to 35,000 feet, I wondered what to expect. I read up on and printed out all of the guidelines from the airline, the ADA, and the TSA. We took everything in a carry on for several reasons- cargo compartments aren't climate controlled, bags get lost, and we wanted to have on hand anything we might need in flight, including nebulizer treatments. I alerted every security official that we were traveling with medical supplies, and to my surprise, we ended up being ushered through security more easily than any other time I've flown. It was also a fabulous touch that the kids can leave their shoes on, and don't have to go through body scanners, and they didn't split us up, so we didn't have to go through them either. We ended up doing nebs both at our gate, and in the air by the time all was said and done. The people around us were fabulously compassionate when J had a tough time on our return flight and cried for a while.
And as luck would have it, I encountered one of the most profound moments in line at LaGuardia security. In my mind I call it the story of the Rabbi & the Stranger. A few places ahead of us was a Rabbi, dressed in his robes, and a few places behind us, a gregarious stranger, who was small-talking most of the people in line at some point. As their paths crossed, the stranger asked the Rabbi, "Do they give you a good enough life that you never run out of compassion?" To which the Rabbi answered with a knowing smile, "It is a good life." The stranger seemed unsatisfied with the quixotic response and asked further, "But isn't it possible, doing what you do, to give so much to others that you end up empty yourself?" The Rabbi smiled again and answered, "There is no end to the compassion, all is forgiven." The stranger countered, "To a point." The Rabbi, never letting go of his comfortable smile, says, "Never to a point. Always." And the stranger somehow seemed satisfied with the exchange. I was dumbfounded by the moment. A purely curious question, an honest exchange of views, an impossibly simple, yet inarguably genuine moment of human connection amidst the crush of holiday travelers that simply struck me. And it has stayed with me ever since. A few moments later, as the line snaked around another partition, the stranger was standing just behind us. He caught Jackson's attention and asked, "Are you our pilot? Are you going to be flying this machine today?" To which J's response was to lift his shirt up high, stick out his belly, and show the stranger his G-button. "Bah-teen!" He was proudly displaying his gear for his new friend, and I wondered for just a moment if I should explain the unusual hardware protruding from within my son. Without hesitation, the stranger said, "Oh that is so neat! Look at what you've got there!" And just like that, the moment had passed, No need to explain. The line moved on quickly and the stranger was gone. A person I will likely never see again, who in the space of ten minutes twice challenged my ideas of the fleeting nature of humans in passing.