The Parent Trip – Happy to be alive

On Sunday morning I awoke to the news that a plane in Eastern Canada had crash-landed.

  • Apr. 1, 2015 8:00 a.m.

By Shelby Cain

On Sunday morning I awoke to the news that a plane in Eastern Canada had crash-landed. Luckily, everyone survived. I turned on the TV and watched as the footage looped over and over. Snowy runways and broken power lines and bewildered passengers being herded into the airport with small white blankets clutched over their shoulders like flags of surrender. Enough already, Mother Nature. We get it. You are one powerful lady.

The media was interviewing passengers from the plane. They spoke to a man who had a wife and two young boys waiting for him at home. The interviewer asked him how scary it was. He responded that it wasn’t scary. When he realized that this was how he was going down, he just felt sad. He thought of his family, and how upsetting this would be for them. He was calm. He reached out and held the hand of the man next to him. A stranger who he’d barely spoken to when everything was fine. Suddenly, they were bonded in this final moment. Sparks flew and the plane skidded, eventually stopping. They were alive. Now the carnal desire to stay that way propelled this man from his seat. He ripped open the emergency door and four of the passengers ran from the plane, the smell of fuel lingering in the air. They had to get away. He had to live, for his family. When they were far enough from the plane and possible explosion they stood in a huddle, like penguins. With their backs to the blowing snow, he couldn’t help himself from leaping into the air, so exuberant to be alive, and exclaiming, “Who here is so happy to be alive?” All four hands shot up. The man told the interviewer he had just finished a book on the plane about near misses in life, how they’re a good thing. They keep us grateful. With gratitude, comes happiness. As I listened to this man speak, a light bulb went off for me. These behaviours that shocked me in an adult are behaviours that our kids exhibit on a daily basis. The ability to bond quickly with their peers and find joy in the multitude of near misses they experience in a single day. When they attempt a steep hill on their bike and end up in a speed-wobble, but pull it off. When they move their hand a fraction of a second before the door slams shut. I could go on. That afternoon my girls were on the driveway playing with the kids from the neighbourhood. Out of the blue Four screamed out, “Who here is having the best day ever?” All hands shot up. For them, facing death is unnecessary. They get it.