My Birthday Month

As my birthday quietly melts into a new day …(despite the fact I continue to lobby for the birthday week)… I want to say thank you for such kind birthday wishes – impactful day and an unusual milestone bday for sure.

It’s been a day filled with extremes – warmth, possibility, travel, adventure, patience, professional accomplishment, love, friendship, sadness, joy, creativity, fear, frustration, connection … as if much of what a person can experience was wrapped up in a moment called today. It was highly unusual and I’m marveling at the big picture of it.

I’m a bit late getting home tonight from a DC area conference this week that was excellent all around – content and people – loved it -special experience.

The reason? Weather delays as will happen, but then a family had trouble on one flight. A mom and her four kids (seemingly teenage) were separated on the plane as we were settling in. English did not seem to be her first language. She was upset at the fact they were separated. It was a growing scene – no raised voices, but clear distraction slowing down departure.

The flight attendant was impressively thoughtful. The mother could not be consoled. A

group on the plane was angry with the hold up – wanting to get home after their own long travel day – impatience growing.

When I could finally figure out what was happening – another woman behind me and I realized at the same time if I moved this frustrated woman could be with her kids in one row. I jumped up and caught the flight attendant’s attention to help. Who knows what people have gone through or their reasons for something that’s not much to ask. She took me up on it and I moved.

I bonked my head good on the overhead bin standing up while moving to my new seat. Some people weren’t super happy she was getting her way in their view. I didn’t take that on.

What I do know is what it feels like to be in an unfamiliar place.

I know what it feels like to be alone and afraid.

I know what it feels like to want to keep my kids near me among strangers.

Here’s how amazing some people are…

That family ended up leaving the plane – no idea if it was their choice or not… wasn’t mine to get into beyond what I did. When I sat down in my new chair – a man across the aisle from me leans over and kindly asks, “How’s your head? I have Advil if you need it during the flight. No good dead goes unpunished, does it?” He looked in my eyes for a moment and said, “I always think in situations I don’t understand – ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’” Then he touched his chest as if it was his heart.

He said he was flying back to the Midwest from Santa Domingo. I thanked him, traded smiles and said, “We think similarly, my friend.”

Ever just feel lucky? I do a lot. Again, thank you.

Happy birthday to me.