Ever since Joey was born, he has loved airplanes. He would point to them and get excited every time he saw one. As he grew older, he would play with his toy planes and build planes out of Legos. And every day after preschool, we would drive out of our way, so he could see an old Air Force plane on display.
Joey is only 5, and there’s no way to know what he will be when he grows up. But I believe in exposing him to different things and letting him know that if he works hard, believes in himself and does well in school, he can be whatever he would like to be. He can achieve his dreams. I want him to know it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from.
I’m a single mom, and Joey has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. While some may say his future is limited. I do not.
And so, I lined up a ride in a Cirrus airplane, so he could experience his first flight. Grandpa Joe came along. I thought having Grandpa with would help Joey be brave.
The Cirrus pilot, Michael McDevitt took the time to teach Joey all about the plane before we took off. It was a Cirrus SR22, fresh off the assembly line. He was patient with Joey and answered all of his questions.
Then, we took off for Joey’s first flight. It was even better than I had imagined.
Joey absolutely loved it. Every minute of it. He marveled at seeing the clouds up close, and he was amazed with how small everything looked below. He even pointed out of the window and said, “Look how beautiful it looks.” He was in total awe.
My little boy looked so grown up, wearing his pilot headset and talking through the microphone. For a moment, I felt as if I were glimpsing into his future.
At one point, Joey moved to the co-pilot seat, and he even got to fly for a moment. Afterward, we toured Cirrus and Joey got to see how planes are built.
On the ride home, Joey told me he plans to turn my car into a plane. He plastered his room with pictures of planes and is now saving money in his piggy bank to buy a plane. I later told Joey that God gives everyone their own special gifts and talents, and he got very excited about that.
I have no idea what Joey will do with his life. At this point, he wants to be a “Dad, pilot, firefighter, plane builder, doctor, farmer.” He also wants to have 20 kids. And he says I get to live next door, so I can babysit.
I cherish the dreams of a child. And rather than telling him he can’t do something, I tell him, he can. I don’t want anything to hold him back. I want him to know that the sky is truly the limit.
And I’m hoping when he looks back on his life, he’ll know why mommy took him up in a plane that day. It was about so much more than the plane ride — it’s about trusting in God and following your path in life no matter where it takes you.
And it’s about knowing you can, even when the world tells you, you can’t.