Angels All Around Us
By: Andrea M Clarke
Raising a special needs child can bring a number of trials; rather it be dealing with doctors, teachers, family or society as a whole. And while it would be a bit too easy to spew out a laundry list of these trials, let's try something new and focus on the angels who come into our lives when we need them the most.
The bright lights, people who show up just at that right moment, as if appearing out of thin air to lend a hand, comfort, advocate, or just be our friend bringing unconditional joy making our journey that much better.
In August 2000 we were waiting for our flight to board in Bucharest Romania when over the loudspeaker, I made out the flight was cancelled due to mechanical reasons. All I remember thinking was, we are getting on a plane somewhere!
Being in a foreign country, with two newly adopted kids who were on time-dated Visa's to transfer through the UK AND I was running out of "nappies", I made a bee-line for the gate across the way running smack into a mob of other people vying for the last 2 seats into Vienna, to get to London.
With passports and tickets waving over my head, I hollered out over the crowd “I have two kids on time dated Visa's and need to get them to the States." It was like the parting of the seas – everyone became quiet and still opening a path for us to walk towards the ticket agents – who promptly gave us the last two seats on the plane...Florentina would sit on my lap – on our way to Vienna.
We had a middle seat with very well dressed businessmen flanking both sides of us. Florentina's diaper exploded on my dress and as I sat there marinating in her pee, struggling to fill a bottle for her, the gentleman to my right reached out – he helped me open the foods – the bottle and milk – all without saying a word. He even helped me with my own food tray getting everything opened and ready for me to eat with one hand. Here were three people, strangers, connecting through a simple act of kindness. It was an amazing experience and I will never forget him and how gracious he was.
On the same flight a woman and her husband were traveling with their toddler back home to Scotland. She saw my distress, a pee soaked mom and child and no nappies, and as if we had known one another since childhood – she came to our rescue with more nappies to ensure Florentina was comfortable and dry. I can still see her sweet smile and flowing red hair wishing us the best.
When we finally arrived in London, Immigration decided to double check all our papers. I think they finally let us through from the look of sheer exhaustion on my face, lest the smell of my urine soaked dress.
Getting to the hotel, I barely remember, but as comical National Lampoon Movie luck would have it, our luggage was lost. Fabulous! To my relief, without a glimmer of hesitation, the desk clerk offered up his services running out to a store to get more diapers for Florentina.
Yes, another angel.
Since we were on stand-by for a flight home, yes, I know, who books plane tickets to bring two adopted kids home with no guaranteed seats? Being rather adventurous, I wasn't worried - besides, it was nice to take a few days to recoup and show the kids London.
By the 3rd day, I was ready to head home to Seattle. Packed us up, found our gate and asked to be placed on Stand-by for the next flight. They had only three seats left, but they were not together. They asked us to wait while they boarded everyone - without my asking, the boarding agents and flight attendants requested folks to take the separate middle seats to “allow a mom with two newly adopted kids to sit together”. I don't know who the passengers were, but they all moved. To middle seats. On a flight from London to Seattle. Wow!
So, the moral of this very true story is that humanity does come into action when we need it most. There are angels; people, strangers who will and do appear. By not allowing the trials to define or consume us, our hearts remain open to receive the good, to fully experience "humanity in action" which in turn enriches our life journey with hope one day to be able to pay it forward with ease and grace.
Who came into your life, or your child's life, just at the right moment? Take pause, look up and celebrate we are all connected and there are angels all around us.