So we traveled to Phoenix this past weekend to surprise Grandpa Milt for his 80th birthday. The whole fam was there…all sixteen of us, minus Luke. We missed you, Luke! We had such a great time with family. Loads of laughter and reconnection with my own flesh and blood.
It was Finn’s first flight and we were worried to say the least. Our neurosurgeon and the Spina Bifida forum moms reassured me that his shunt would do fine on the plane since it’s a pressurized cabin, but I was terrified nonetheless. I breathed a sigh of relief as we passed through the metal detectors unscathed. We were amazed that Finn didn’t even make a peep during take off or touch down. He was an angel. Tugged his ears a lot, but who knows why…
SO…here’s the fun part of my story:
As we were switching planes in Houston, we see a young man roll up to the ticket counter in his wheelchair. He’s about our age, good looking and seemed confident. We wanted to ask him why he was in a wheelchair (hoping he had SB), but of course, that’s rude. Turns out, he’s on OUR PLANE. He’s in the first row with TWO spots next to him. Joey and I both looked at each other and smiled. He nodded that we could sit by him. Be cool, Ashley; don’t embarrass yourself.
I’ll try keep this long story short…Joey asked him how long he’d been in a wheelchair and he told us about his drunk driving accident as a teenager that broke his back. He was wearing a Phoenix Suns jacket and hat and told us he’s an ALL STAR wheelchair basketball player for the Phoenix Suns. He was returning home from the All Star tournament in Houston. We of course told him about Finn and he was genuinely sad for us, which surprised me a bit. But then he told us we’ve got to get Finn into wheelchair basketball as soon as possible…because, “The Biff’s are bad a## at basketball!” Excuse my language, but this quote is just too good not to share. Yes, he told us they nickname the players with Spina Bifida, “the Biffs.” They are usually some of the better players because they’ve been in a wheelchair most of their lives and learn to play at a very young age.
With a smile on my face and a lurch in my stomach that only God can produce, I quickly looked out the cabin window at the purple and red wing. I was trying to avoid bawling right there next to this guy. My eyes welled with tears as I thought of how sweet God was to sit us next to Kelly, an All Star wheelchair basketball player who thinks my son is going to be a rock star. This was no coincidence. It reminded me that God has taken care of us and He will continue to.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa!