Madison pointed it out to me when the three of us were out for a walk one day. She said she thought it was weird that I have a fear of flying, but I’m fascinated with air planes…every time one flies over, I look up. I’m actually not fascinated with the plane itself - I don’t care about it on the ground, its more about the machine in the sky. Madison was right, it is kind of weird. But to me, it’s just natural…I have looked up for as long as I can remember and have wondered why most people don’t.
We live about 50K away from the Vancouver International Airport, so we aren’t that close. It’s not like the planes are loud, but still you can hear them, so I look up. Sometimes I comment. I might say something about it’s colour or size or if it’s flying really high or low etc. Sometimes I’ll pop a wheelie with Mike’s wheelchair so he can see too. And on a nice day or evening, I often say something like, “How wonderful it is to be flying into Vancouver on a day like today.” Because of course, Vancouver is beautiful…from the sky and the ground!
My dad looks up too. I’ve really noticed it lately at Nathan’s ultimate frisbee games…he and I are looking up while everyone else has their eyes on the game. My dad knows planes…he flew planes. He had a licence to fly at one time and has always had an interest in planes. While everyone else is watching the frisbee game, he and I discuss where that one might be coming from and the airline and he always knows what kind of plane it is.
I don’t really know why I have to look up when one flies over, but its like I can’t not look up. Regardless, looking up when a plane flies by has caused me to look up thousands of times and looking up is a good thing.
I think the sky is a great reminder of how small we are and how big God is. It’s huge and it’s uncluttered, unlike some of our spaces, so it helps clear the mind and make troubles disappear for a while. The sky is also in the direction of heaven and they say its good to look where you are going, not where you have been.
Because of Mike’s neck weakness, the physiotherapist from GF Strong recently came and fitted Mike for a neck brace. Mike wasn’t crazy about the idea, but I insisted. I told him that transfers would be easier and when he stands he wouldn’t have to work so hard to lift his head up and keep his head up. I also told him van rides would be more enjoyable. Poor Mike is like a bobble head in the van when we go anywhere and I drive super slow and avoid as many bumps as possible…train tracks are the worst.
Anyway, Mike isn’t crazy about his new neck brace. He feels a little suffocated, so he hasn’t worn it very much. He did wear it when he and I drove out to Mill Lake in Abbotsford a couple of weeks ago to surprise Neil and Donna at the ALS Walk there (the week before, our “I Like Mike” team participated in the ALS Walk in Port Coquitlam).
We laughed a lot on the way to Mill Lake because I was asking Mike questions about getting there and with his sun glasses on and his neck brace on, it was almost impossible for him to communicate with me. I couldn’t see his eyes and he couldn’t nod his head yes or no. I’d say, “Smile if I exit here…smile if I turn left here.” Trying not to smile, made Mike smile more, so needless to say we got a little lost but we had fun.
I have never been more in awe of Mike’s determination as I am now when I watch him lift his head. When we get him standing up and leaning against his chair, it takes all his might to lift his head. Once it’s there, he smiles. Usually it falls back a little and then he’s looking up…and smiling. Sometimes I help him lift his head and sometimes I hold his head for him, but I also like to hold his feet and support his ankles when he stands, so this can be a bit of a challenge. Last week when Pat was here, she held Mike’s head and I held his feet. Elanna and Madison and whoever else might be around also help sometimes with this juggling act…its team work at its best!
All I can say is, “Mike, you blow me away! I am so proud of you and so inspired by you! Keep looking up!”
Neil and Mike at the ALS walk in Abbotsford
The "I Like Mike" Team at the ALS walk in Poco