Thursday, May 31, 2018

Pictures on the Wall

3 years ago today...

School was already out, spring soccer had just ended and our bags were packed. We loaded up the car and made our way to the airport. We stopped at KFC just before getting on the freeway and ran into a little bit of traffic, but nothing too bad. I parked the car. I checked and double checked that we hadn't left anything, and then finally, we got onto the shuttle that would take us to the terminal for our flight to Oahu. We stepped off of the shuttle onto the side walk. I walked in front just a Mama with her four little ducks in tow. 

I remember one of the girls calling out to me, "Mom, wait." I remember turning around. One of them was rummaging through her bag, and then she looked up, a smile across her face. Whatever she thought she left, I assumed she found. So I turned and began to walk. 

That was the last thing I remember, her smile, before I heard "the explosion" and ducked and got mad like a kid who had just gotten scared. Before the dust settled and I saw a car in the wall behind me. Before I saw her lying on the ground in front of me. Before I thought, "I think she's dead"

Sooo many things happened all at once, it's hard for me to put into words. We were going to miss our flight (yes, that actually crossed my mind), I couldn't find my phone, an off duty EMT rushed over to help me, did anyone call 911? A pastor sat and prayed with the other kids. I found my phone. I called their Dad. I don't even know what I said. Then we were on the ambulance. God sent us so many angels that day and God carried us through what could have been such a tragedy and blessed us with a miracle. She's alive, doing well and I thank God every day for that... 

My hands are trembling and tears fall as I write this and I hesitate to say any more. 

Because it's not just my story to tell, it belongs to my kids as well. My number one priority has always been to protect them and a part of me feels like I failed to do that, that day. I know that's the PTSD talking. I know there was nothing I could have done to change what happened. 

So I'll protect them now by not going into the specifics of the accident or her injuries and giving them the opportunity to share when and if they ever want to.

Yet, recently, I've felt so compelled to talk about my journey, and my struggle with anxiety and PTSD. It's been a long, windy road filled with tears, fears and lots of sleepless nights.  It changed me as a mother, as a woman and as a flight attendant. It changed me in the smallest ways and in some pretty big ways too.  I want to be brave and share how the accident and PTSD affected my relationships, friendships even how I do my job.

Next week we are finally taking our Hawaiian vacation. It'll be the kids first time back at this specific airport. I remember my first time back and it wasn't pretty. I know it's on their minds too, and I have anxiety for what memories it may bring up. 

One of my girls came up to me last week, though, and said "Hey mom is it okay if we get to the airport early? I think I just want to stand there and take a couple of minutes".

I just thought, "How brave is she?!?!"  And I started thinking about how brave they all had to be that day and how that day changed them too. But the change I see in my kids has been inspiring. I know everything happens for a reason and while we may never know the reason, I know that God has great things in store for each one of my children.

"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny" 
~ C.S Lewis

There will always be a before and after the accident picture, of how are lives would have been or how things could be different. But I chose NOT to focus on the before, not even the after. At the end of the day those are just pictures on the wall. I choose to focus on today!

I want to share my story and my struggles in hopes it may help others but more importantly to show my kids I can be brave too, one blog at a time... 

And who knows maybe my kids will finally make their mom's blog and social media debut on Airport codes: HNL (vacation edition)

But for now...


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Exes and Oh Ohs

I sat in the middle of the chaos that was my life, watching from a distance. I could see all the parts that had led me here but none of them seemed to work together... It was like I had wound up 15 different music boxes with the same song but all at different times. Not quite a merry go round where the song was still recognizable, more like confusion that was almost familiar...  Imagine a marching band, each member with a different conductor (if that's what they're even called) who started when they wanted with no regard for anyone else but themselves... All together the music is loud and obnoxious and it makes you want to cover your ears, but as each music box ends or as each band member stops to listen, the confusion lessens and the chaos slows, until finally there's only one. You can finally hear what you were meant to hear all along, and it is the most beautiful song you've ever heard...

With just a week of school left for the kids and summer plans already filling up our calendar, I couldn't help but reflect on this past school year. 

The beginning of this past school year was pretty challenging for our family. We have four kids at four different schools. We had golf, soccer, horseback riding, piano and a new school on a completely different schedule than the rest.
Life was hectic. If it didn't get put on the calendar it wasn't happening. I can't even tell you how many  times I cried in just the first couple of weeks... Because for the first time since becoming a flight attendant mom, I thought, I can't do this.

I would go to work leaving a laundry list of things for their dad and stepmom, who has two girls of her own, by the way, and  pregnant at the time!

We were all overwhelmed but it made us, "the parents" (as the kids call us), really come together.

I'll be the first to admit we had a rocky start.
Not because of any one person's fault. We were just going about our separate lives, beating to the sound of our own drums. It was loud and chaotic, and it took all that noise to get us to stop, take a step back, and listen so we could get in sync. I'm grateful for our experiences and the things we went through, and I can't wait to share what we've learned! 

We still get off key and we're going to need some fine tuning as the kids get older and things change, but it's just like learning a new song. It takes dedication and communication, but our end goal has always been the same: to see our kids living their best lives.

Jesse and Amber have been married for a year and 11 months now, haha! I know this because she once told me she read in a book that it usually takes two years to blend a family.
Well, we have 7 kids between us, ages 8 months to 15 years. That's a lot of blending, but I think we are finally getting the hang of it!


Friday, May 18, 2018

Welcome Aboard

Hi! I'm Adriana... a 35 year old Mom of four and Flight Attendant. I may not always know what day it is, and sometimes my kids have to text me to remind me that it's an "early release day." Every once in awhile I miss a soccer game or an assembly. We drink waaaay too much Starbucks (yes, I let my kids drink Starbucks) and when I'm at work I am gone for 3-4 days at a time. But it's not like I'm on Mars and they can't contact me. It's not like as soon as I get on the airplane I forget I have four children at home.When I started writing this, I decided to ask them what they thought was different about having a mom who was a Flight Attendant.

My oldest daughter Micaela,14, said "I don't really think there is a difference, because it's all I know." She was 6 when I started working for the airline.

Alina,12, said  "Sometimes you just want to talk to your mom about stuff and if you're flying, I have to wait."

"We get to travel more than a lot of the kids I know." Christian,15.

"We don't see you every day but when you're home you're really available." Rylee, 11.

Now I could sit here and try and defend my career choice, show you my work schedule, share with you how I only work 12-15 days a month and tell you how I'm more present now than when I had a full time job, but I won't. Because I've tried and I've heard it all.

Things like: "I could never leave my kids the way you do" to "You're so lucky you get a break from your kids every week!"

I can assure you it's not always a "Get-Away", although sometimes it can be. And it's definitely not easy being hundreds of miles away when they need me. But you know what? I am lucky. I'm lucky to have a job that I love, a house I call home and great kids that fill my life with joy and laughter.
So sometimes you won't see me in the drop off line at school because I'm having brunch with my crew, but the days you do see me, you better believe I have a Starbucks in hand!
Welcome to That Flight Attendant Mom Blog!