That’s the thing about this experience of being my daughter’s mother, I have demanded of myself to never stop working towards creating something beautiful for her, for her siblings and for Tim and I. Although our daily struggle is real I know without a doubt that something much bigger much more powerful than I am, has been following right along with me whispering words of encouragement, sending me messages of strength and aligning me with earthly experiences that can not be explained.
November 2003, the day after Thanksgiving was one of those days that can not be explained. We had just moved to Spokane in July with the high hopes of providing Amelia a close relationship with her Northern cousins since we knew she would not have a typical sibling relationship with her little sister. We also desired for Ellie to have a pack of cousins to grow up with, who would love her unconditionally because we knew the world would not be so kind.
The morning after our first Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law’s home, Amelia and I boarded an Alaskan shuttle back to Seattle. It was a family tradition with my mom and aunties to kick off the holy jolly season at the opera house in Seattle for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker. After Amelia and I took our seats, a flight attendant who was on her way to her hub sat in the seat next to me. We exchanged the usual niceties while trying to not engage in a lengthy conversation about nothing. As our jet left the gate, she reached into her duffle and pulled out the bible and began reading scripture. My first thought was what does she know about this captain or this jet that I don’t know. Should we exit the aircraft while we still can ? Does she not have faith we will make it SeaTac. Huh.
We lifted off the tarmac and into the heavy clouds. Amelia and I occupied ourselves and discussed how excited we were to be meeting Cece for the Nutcracker. About 3/4 of the way into the flight, the flight attendant started a conversation with me about nothing. And then she shifted gears and made direct eye contact. She stated you are going to have a baby soon. I thought this was one of those moments where someone thinks your pregnant when you are actually just “curvy”. “Oh no, I am not pregnant.” I proclaimed. I was kind of annoyed as I had just lost a few pounds with weight watchers. She went onto explain, ” Oh no, you do not look pregnant. You are going to have a baby and he will be a mighty blessing.” she said. Pause. “Who are you?” I inquired. I assumed she was like my woo-woo auntie from Port Townsened, the same type of person that believed you can telepathically heal, see chakras, and feel energy vibrations. I presumed that this was the universe she was coming from and it did not unsettle me one bit. I actually find this way of thinking slightly intriguing.
She replied that ever since she was a little girl she had a special gift in which she believed God used her to convey messages to others in need. She went on to say that as soon as she boarded the plane she felt drawn to sit in the seat next to me in spite of the fact that she recognized a former high school mate towards the back. She explained that she never knows when this gift will appear but when it does she takes head.
“Well is he going to be ok?” I asked out of curiosity but mostly fear. I had so much fear. I wanted to have another baby but not because Ellie was not perfect. I believed that rational to be unjust and simply not morally sound. How does a mother “try again” because the last child was not what she had wanted. It was never in our plan to have three children and I was confident in knowing that had Elle been typical I would not be entertaining the idea of a third. I also was scarred to death of “this” happening again. And how on earth would I survive two children with a severe disability as I was barely finding my way with having one.
“What do you mean she?” she replied. I went on to give her the short version of my journey thus far with my daughter. A few seconds passed and then she proclaimed “God wants for you to know that your daughter was sent to you as a gift. He wants for you to stop trying to “fix” Ellie and to understand that she was sent here to heal you.” My heart stopped and inner core began to tremble again. She went onto say she did not know when this boy was going to arrive but that he would be strong and that he would be a mighty blessing. She also conveyed that we are all “ok” in god’s eyes and that Elle is “ok” too.
We had a smooth landing at SeaTac and she gave me a quick hug as she told me that her name is Shelley and lives in Liberty Lake. She often is called upon by the police department to help solve missing people cases and she and her husband also owned a K-9 training facility Sharp Command. Really, her name is Shelley.
Two weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test (a little pre-turkey love). Four months later I had an ultrasound confirming a baby boy which brought my husband to his knees and together we wept. And on August 10th 2004. surrounded by my husband, mom, mother-in-law, and best friend I gave birth to Charles Vincent McChesney Northern. A mighty blessing indeed.