We boarded the plane in the late afternoon. We were the first to board. J was so excited he ran up and down the plane screaming “Up , up and away!”. The air hostesses were just smiling and helping D with our hand luggage. “Hey little man” one patted Ethans’ head. “No not you” he roared at her. She jumped. I began to explain that he was cranky and excited all at once, when she put her hand on my shoulder,”It’s ok. I’ve heard worse, everyones entitled to be cranky mom” she smiled as she pointed at our four seats. I thanked her and showed Ethan to his window seat.
We were finally sitting when over the intercom came the pilots voice,” Hi Ethan, this is the captain, Mark. In a moment we will be boarding the plane. Before that, maybe you and your very special family, would like to come visit me in the cockpit. I promise it’s cool”. He hadn’t finished his last sentence when D had jumped up, grabbed J and nodded at me, very excitedly to take Ethan. I laughed as we made our way to the cockpit.
Ten minutes later we were back sitting when the air hostess reminded us that the other passengers were making their way now to the aircraft. We all nodded as Ethan stared out the tiny window. J had now got his colouring books out , desk down and ready for some serious art work. D and I held hands as we watched the plane slowly fill. Ethan waved and shouted “hi” to every single passenger , and every single passenger answered him with “Hi Ethan”. This confused D and I, but we decided perhaps they could all hear us saying “Shh Ethan”. “Relax Ethan” . “Don’t hit your brother Ethan”, the usual conversations we have.
Ethan was now rather excited, jumping and trying to get past D’s legs. He didn’t succeed but tried repeatedly. This plane needed to take off, it needed to take off now.
We heard the pilots voice again.” Good afternoon. This is your pilot Mark Walsh. We are on time for Charles De Gaulle arrival. We will be taking off in a few moments. I believe you all know we have a guest of honour flying with us. Could you all welcome Make-A-Wish’s very special boy, Ethan and his wonderful family”. The whole plane erupted in applause. Ethan roared ” It’s me, Ethan” which lead to a lot of laughter.
Strangers were smiling at us through tears, others were staring at us, tilting their heads and smiling through sad eyes. I nodded at those close by, half smiled and mouthed ‘thank you’ to a few. It was only when D handed me a tissue, I realised I, along with D and about 10 passengers ( roughly the amount I could see from my seat!) were crying.
I wiped my eyes. Took a deep breath and as the clapping subsided I kissed both my special boys.
The plane took off. Ethan roared “I’m superman”. I could hear and see a few passengers laughing, a man behind us, leaned forward and smiled ” I think you just might be Ethan”. “He sure is” I replied as Ethan continued to roar ” I’m Ethan superman”
You sure are kid.
We landed in Paris, 1 hour and 40 minutes later. We were first off the plane. Ethan and J said good bye to their new friend Aoife, the air hostess. At the arrival gate stood our luggage and our driver holding a sign,’Ethan and family.Come quick. Micky Mouse is waiting!’. I took D’s hand and whispered , “this is going to be more emotional than I thought babe” I felt my voice wobble.
He squeezed my hand,” Ethie deserves this. We will enjoy it.I got plenty of tissues let’s make memories”he rubbed my now sweaty hand.