Special Needs Dad 365

Hailey and Jon Southwest
I was telling Hailey in the airport today that when I look back at her childhood, many of my fondest memories will be the time we spent going on trips together. We have traveled to Arizona, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Tallahassee, FL, Utah, Vermont, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. 9 out of 11 of these have been to advocate for the epilepsy community and to tell Livy’s and our family’s story.

We miss Allison and Livy terribly when we are away from them. They are the other half of this team and we don't work as well when we're not with them. I also keep in the back of my mind that I would never get to spend quality time like this with Hailey if our lives had taken a different path. She matures every trip we take and instead of having a 10-year-old little companion, I now have a confident, compassionate, and intelligent 14-year-old as my travel buddy. We love to tell silly jokes, watch the Food Network, and have a good steak. She is always patient, ridiculously so, and has never once complained about listening to adults having conversations. She is incredibly easy going when traveling. She loves to see new places and meet wonderful people.

Every time we talk about going on trips, Italy enters the conversation. Someday, we will get there. She is a foodie after my own heart. I’m not sure how long she will want to travel with her dad. Hopefully she will continue to laugh at my corny sense of humor and think I’m pretty cool. For now, I will relish in her youth while she still lets me put my arm around her in public and kiss her on the forehead. A woman in the airport made that very comment as we were standing in line waiting to board our plane. I'm crossing my fingers that with a little positive reinforcement, it will last for many years to come.