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Everyone had experienced the thrill of flight except Parker. Gavin had been on two flights as a baby. Once at three months when we turned a business trip into a family trip to Irvine, California. A couple months later we flew to Seattle for Christmas. I remember coming home to tons of snow frozen in our driveway. We could hardly get the car over the hills and into the garage.

Gwen remembers quite vividly her flight to Salt Lake with me a couple years ago. She had just turned four years old. I was so impressed with how mature she was. She was a huge help especially on the way home when I had just looked death in the eye.

Of course Heath and I have flown many times. I hate flying. Not because I’m afraid but because I seem to always fly alone. I hate doing things like that alone. The prospect of flying as a family was very exciting to me. I could not wait to fly with my husband and children. I couldn’t wait to see Parker’s reaction to his first flight. In the words of my children, it was going to be epic!

Parker was so cute on this trip. He looked and acted every bit his 9 year old self. He was adorable. I think he channeled Tigger with the way he bounced everywhere. Parker literally could not be still, or wipe the mile wide smile off his face. Excited doesn’t even begin to describe how Parker felt about this trip.


Gavin was excited and you can see I managed to capture a bit of a smile. He ate snacks while waiting for the airplane. He was very mellow sitting calmly in his chair not bothering anyone.

Parker and Gwen couldn’t sit still. They were all over the place.


Waiting for that plane to arrive was torturous to the two most excited children in the world. Staring out the window was like waiting for a pot of water to boil. 

Meanwhile Parker’s eyes were glued to the screens. He would tell us over and over what time we were supposed to board the plane. Then he would count out minute after minute until that time came.

It took a long time. We were TSA pre-checked so we got through security really fast. I loved that part because I didn’t have to take off my flip flops or have my fingertips checked for explosives. On the way back the guy didn’t even make me take my jacket off. Heath’s theory is that the airlines don’t suspect any terrorists will book a flight to Disneyland. Two adults, three kids, Mom was in flip flops. How dangerous could we really be? I don’t know but it was just nice to not have to explain that I was wearing an insulin pump. A simple walk through the metal detector and I was good.


Finally the long anticipated moment came. We boarded the plane. As if Parker’s excitement wasn’t bubbling over already, sitting in the airplane put him over the edge. He was talking fast and loud and basically looked like this.

A flight attendant came by. She learned that this was Parker’s first flight so she offered to get him wings. Our family was spread across two rows so I don’t know she realized we were all together. When she offered the wings Heath did say we would like three sets of wings. She brought them back and while I was pinning Gwen’s wings on she asked if Parker wanted to talk to the pilot in the cockpit.

Heath turned around and asked Gavin if he wanted to come with. Gavin was immersed in his phone and had no idea what was going on. I should have just brought Gwen along but I hesitated too long. She asked where Parker was going and was very jealous to find out the answer.


I love the hesitation when the pilot asked Parker how old he was! Uh …

Parker had his own private tour. The co-pilot even moved over so Parker could sit in his seat. The whole situation makes me laugh. These things happen to Parker because he is who he is. He has loud and unrestrained enthusiasm for life. If he could have sat still like his brother and sister he never would have caught the attention of a flight attendant. And he never would have had the moment of a lifetime by being invited into the cockpit. Parker is definitely a lucky guy but a lot of that luck comes from him.


I don’t remember if Gwen asked to sit next to me or if Parker asked to sit next to Heath. One of them had a definite request.


Gavin was fine sitting alone. The flight wasn’t too full so he really did get to sit alone. He had buds in his ears and a phone in his hands. What could be better?

I loved that Parker was sitting with his dad. As a child, Heath had dreams of becoming a pilot. He also knows so much about so many things. He was a great source of information as the plane flew. He explained exactly what was happening and why.

He also let Parker choose a Coke when the flight attendant came by. Regret was immediate. Parker was nuts on his own. With a little caffeine and a strong belief that caffeine would make him hyper, Parker was nearly insufferable to sit next to. The chatter was strong and fast. On the flight home Parker was told not to choose any caffeinated drinks. He asked for lemonade which they didn’t have so he picked Sprite instead.

After a week of rides more thrilling than an airplane flight, Parker asked if he could be the one to sit alone on the flight home. The flight was full so Parker knew he would have to sit next to someone. As I passed by Parker on the way to my seat I leaned over and whispered, “Be polite to the person sitting next to you.”

The girl standing behind me sat next to Parker. She immediately introduced herself and asked Parker’s name. We all forgot her name but she remembered his name and used it in her farewell to him at the end of the flight.

Of all the people in the world he could have sat next to, she was perfect. Parker expected to just say hi to the person next to him and maybe exchange a few pleasantries then sit in silence. This girl was perfect. She was cute and bubbly and very social. Secretly Heath and I were relieved that someone else was sitting next to our little chatterbox. The two of them talked through the entire flight. Parker was in heaven. He had the undivided attention of the cutest law student since Elle Woods.

That boy sure lives a charmed life. We told him he needed to read some chapters out of The Great Horn Spoon for his homework. He fought us on homework tooth and nail until the middle of Saturday. I cannot believe he got his own way again! He got out of reading because he was sitting next to a cute girl conjuring up every memory she had of fourth and fifth grade.

At the same time I was so happy for Parker. He had the best flight experiences. He was the lucky dog invited to meet the pilot and he had an instant friend as a seat mate. The squeaky wheel really does get the grease. All I can do is be happy for him.