If you are a parent or just a lover of Disney flicks I am sure you have seen Finding Nemo, and/or Finding Dory. I have three kids so if you do the math, I have watched Finding Nemo 156 times so far. (haha there’s no evidence to support that but if feels like that much!). The movie seriously has never grown old. I still laugh in the same places and tear up in others. Then, there are the times when Nemo is swimming as fast as he could to reunite with his dad and I would just lose it. You get it, right? Life is about the highs and the lows…it is what makes up your unique journey and gives perspective to your heart. There was something so amazing about one of the character’s, Dory, that just stayed with me. It could have quite possibly been the fact she was singing “Just keep swimming” so many times it just stuck in your head. Something about that little mantra of hers that adds this reminder to keep on keeping on.

This past year was one that gave a mom in her late 30s back her confidence. A road filled with freedom in healing and the freedom of carrying on.  Some of it had to do with leaving toxic friendships and then surrounding myself with people who support your endeavors even when they are different than theirs. The comments that eventually got me to stop being me, had new life breathed into them. “You can’t be a pilot and a single mom.” “That’s too hard, you can’t do that.” “You don’t want to do that.” and other equally lame statements made by unhappy people.  The reality was, I CAN be a single mom and an airline pilot. Everything is hard just take it day by day. I DO want to do it and NEED to do it.

Along this road this sweet four place metal bird came alongside me and got in my heart. I had forgotten how much love exists in the world when you follow what awakens your heart. I’m a fairly passionate person, and love life for the experience that it is, the present. This metal bird that became known as Dorie, immediately filled our lives with so much joy and adventure. Dorie has been a part of the fabric that has woven our family of four together. The once scaring words that “flying was selfish”, “why couldn’t I be happy just being a stay at home mom”… were redeemed by the gentle sound of Dorie with her 180 horses firing underneath her cowling. She’s kept my children and I safe and made their mom realize that love exists beyond the heartache. Life’s promises of what my children and I have experienced seeing in Dorie… the sunsets, sunrises, camping under her wing… fishing, football, baseball, and the laughter, oh the laughter… this is our life and a part of our story.

To Dorie, something special happened when I brought my hand to touch your skin, I came alive and in ways, we both came alive together in the sky. It’s hard for me to think that a machine, just a machine, there’s something so romantic in travel, and movement and thank you for safely allowing my kids and I to do things I had only dreamt of.

To my children, I pray  that these handfuls of memories are ones you always look back on and hold fondly in your heart as I hold onto them dearly in mine.

To the readers… look for the Dories of the world and embrace them for the journey. Be it a truck, motorcycle, cooking, dancing, basketball hoop, or hammock… look for the vessels in this world that make you come alive. Choose that road often.

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