I’m in the middle of a unifying miracle right now.
As I write I am sitting with a whole row to myself on a 1/4 full flight on United en route to the United Kingdom to reunite with Violet, my youngest daughter, whom I’ve not hugged for a full year and a half. I’d been blessed to have my eldest, Ruby, staying with me for the first half of the pandemic and recently have had a sweet double reunion with my son, Kai, but this baby, born on my birthday just shy of 20 and a half years ago, has been in university abroad for two years now, and this distance during the pandemic has been excruciating for my heart. We text and FaceTime often, but it’s not the same. I have been one crazy mama.
Prep for this trip has been crazy, too, despite the airlines and TripIt Pro doing all they can to keep us safe, informed, and on track with the challenging, changing landscape of the pandemic. While the United States and my state of California seems safer, the UK has been hit by the third wave of the most aggressive and dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19 yet, and they take every person’s health and wellbeing coming into the country very, very seriously as they should. We’ve globally lost too many people, too much time, too many jobs, too many opportunities to come together and I’m still gutted that compassionate clarity wasn’t our entire world’s path to fix this. Onward with more love!
Most of you know I am vaccinated. For this trip I’ve also taken two COVID tests to make sure I had the right one because the type and timing is very tricky when all the testing sites say the results return between 24 and 72 hours, yet one must have a negative test result within 72 hours of arrival. Of the two tests, one was a free saliva test early Monday, and the other was an expensive “guaranteed in 24 hours” nose swab I took Monday afternoon. The expensive one still hasn’t come back. Everyone coming in the UK must receive a negative result and must schedule at least two more tests while in the UK before you are allowed to board the plane. Upon landing all must quarantine for ten days, then on day 2 and day 8 of your quarantine take two more tests before you can go out, with narrow exception. I’ve also scheduled a ‘test to release’ that I purchased to take on day 5 that would allow me on day six to get out of quarantine earlier, but I’d still have to take a test on day 8. A vaccination card means little here since word is out that ruin-it-for-everyone-ugly-deceitful-Americans are forging cards, so only testing 3 – 4 times to make sure you don’t carry COVID will allow one entry.
Even last night in California, uploading all the documents to the UK safe entry site, was confusing and took nearly four hours to ensure all was in place, but when I arrived at the airport to check in more than two hours early, they still couldn’t verify I had the correct test! I wept at the check in counter for 15 minutes trying to show them I had the correct email documentation, but the two people who pulled me out of the long, long line to ensure I could get on the flight couldn’t see in my email the exact test I took. My voice began to shake with worry I’d miss my flight and finally I heard inside to stop crying, breathe, and read the document I had one more time… and there it was – our testing site had the exact test needed but placed the specifics of the type where the gentlemen apparently had never seen before. They still had to show it to another woman to make sure they weren’t seeing things (they had looked many, many times!) and finally she said yes, and I cried again with relief as I raced up the escalator to TSA.
A nice man at the Clear check-in had seen my distress and said he knew I needed to go first to catch my plane and while I said, “No, no, no…” he insisted, but then, when I went through the X-ray machine the random security check alarm went off! Had this gentleman gone first it would have been him getting the random scan because it’s a numbers thing! To add to the madness there were no women to check or scan me on duty! Forlorn in my smiley face socks, I began weeping again, “Please, hurry, I need to see my daughter!” They offered to find her for me and could barely understand me as I cried, “She’s overseas. I’m trying to catch my plane!” Another dear man from security stepped up, asked for my phone, wiped the magic scanning cloth across it and then whoosh with a sprinkling of thanks to this kind soul, I was on my way again running to my gate far, far away.
Still worried about the documentation confusion as I descended a new escalator to the gate, I called our Jason to see if we could get the backup test results sent to my email and upon looking, he found their site was down! Scrolling for a Plan C I hear on the intercom, “Please check that you have a red stamp on your boarding pass. All passengers should have received a red stamp at check-in. If you don’t have a red stamp, it is already too late, and you cannot get on the plane.” Oh, no – mine was blue! I hopped out of the line actively boarding, scrambled to another line where there was an apparent language barrier and the elderly couple ahead of me was pulling out all their papers. I said, “Okay, God, do you want me on this plane? If you don’t want me on this plane, or if it unsafe for me, then I will listen, but please, may I catch my plane?” A calm came over me, the non-English speaking couple stepped away and finally, I could look into the woman’s eyes at the counter to say, “I’m not sure why I don’t have the red stamp, but they hustled me through the line, they checked, and verified I have all my documentation, and I very much would like to board.” Without a word, she stamped my boarding pass with a red stamp, handed my boarding pass back, took my picture (yes, it’s a new world, folks), and I was the second to last to board with three minutes to spare.
Why is this a miracle? Despite me getting into a spin I might not make it I am in this jet at 40,000 ft. currently flying 581 mph toward my baby! During most of the entire tour of Dancing Hands in the last nearly five years on the road, I have been blessed with early arrivals, easy flights, great flight attendants, easy connections, sometimes no lines, blessed and blissful, but today, as you can see everything was different. Is it a sign of the times? A sign of post-pandemic/still-in-pandemic stress? Should I have stayed home with the puppy? My focus is always for the best and highest good, but hold on – did I intend well? Did I check the boxes for my own well-being, too? “Please let me see my daughter” is a pretty normal focus for a mom, but how about “I intend ease and flow beyond my imagining as I reunite with my youngest child?” Maybe, “I playfully co-create harmony in joyful ease and am in divine timing with everyone with whom I interact for this journey.” This or better! True, I am woefully and wonderfully human. I leak tears. My heart grows soft and tender, and I can lose my footing just like many. Today, I was most definitely not above this human thing. I was in it. IN it. We are on this adventure together folks. Don’t think for a second that just because I have this gift flowing through me that I don’t see where I need some work, too. I am woman in evolution right beside you. Okay, not exactly this moment, but I will be soon. You may be far beyond this part, but gentle reminders — as we are all getting ready to get back to life and hugging the world more, I hope that you go easier on your path than I did. Let’s intend better together.
Speaking of… no mistakes not long after I was served dinner the windows magically dimmed, and I was able to refocus and watch two movies on this flight that were good for my soul that you, too, might enjoy: “Let Them All Talk” with Meryl Streep, Diane Wiest, and Candace Bergen and the live action version of Mulan. Both had beautiful themes of embracing life, owning mistakes and one’s gifts with strong women at the fore struggling with the stories given to them from the outside world v. the dancing with the inner gifts unfurling with humbling grace, truth, and courage. I know I should sleep this flight, but my mama heart is getting ready to curl up into quarantine next to my daughter before we have a few days of two glorious weeks to explore after so long, so I am officially announcing my holiday. Yes, I’ll be writing a lot, posting a little here and there, and plotting our next JDH Journey through Sacred Scotland and the environs while here at the end, but these movies were a lovely ease in to remember to not waste one more moment in the drama or denying one’s sacred truth.
Intending to put this into joyous practice, I hope you are also finding time to stretch and dance into the summer.
May you be loyal, brave, and true… to all that is good, ripe for love, and carries light for peace.
PS Update hours after the above was written and a long nap: Yes, I wept a long, long time in Violet’s welcoming arms when I arrived! No pictures, thank goodness, but this mama is so grateful to finally be allowed to see and hug my youngest up close. Stay safe, be sane, stay healthy & love on.