Soaring with Eagles ~ (A Kid’s Dream)

🍀“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”  (Helen Keller)🍀

I would like to veer off in a different direction and dedicate this St. Patrick’s Day blog to my firstborn grandson, 14 year old Donovan, and share about his aspirations and recent accomplishment.  Perhaps parents and grandparents will relate to my being especially proud of him. Each one of my eight grandchildren, if I may say so (and I will say so 😁) have exceptional talents.  They have loving parents who are involved every day in their lives, and see to it that school is balanced by fun and healthy activities.  The kids swim, hike, snowboard, bike, play drums, box, draw, paint, play soccer and baseball…and now one of them flies airplanes. So the focus today will be on the young pilot-in-training, Donovan, and announce to the other grand kids that they, too, may end up in a future blog – to their dismay or delight! Just wait, kids, just wait!

Donovan aka Donny developed an interest in aviation at a young age and recently achieved a huge milestone and fulfilled the first part of a dream.   He joined a group of young aspiring pilots called Young Eagles  which gives children between the ages of 8 to 17 the chance to sit in a co-pilot’s seat, learn more about aviation,  and experience the thrills of flying with a volunteer pilot.  As Donny took his seat, the pilot was astonished to hear how much he already knew. Donovan actually knew how to fly the plane – he knew all about the yoke (the steering wheel of a plane), controls, gauges and starting the plane. This doesn’t surprise anyone who knows Donny because when he gets an interest in something, he pours all of his heart, soul and concentration into it.  His maternal grandfather even set up a yoke and flight simulator on a computer a number of years ago, and Donny practiced taking off, flying and landing, and flying under emergency conditions (engine failure, bad weather).

Getting ready to land at SFO!

A poster on Donny’s bedroom wall

He watched as many videos about flying as he could.  Whenever he flew on a commercial airliner, he hopped into the cockpit to chat with the captain.  He could look 5000 feet high into the sky and name the type of airplane simply by looking at its engine.  Boeing 737/747/777; Airbus A320/A380 – he knew them all.  Whenever I traveled, he hammered me with questions about my trip and asked whether or not the plane wings had “winglets” (a short, almost vertical stabilizing fin projecting from the tip of an aircraft wing), and also wanted to know the year, make and model of the plane I flew on.

Before take-off, the pilot explained to Donny what would happen during the flight, and gave a run-down about the airplane he would fly in.  There was also a review of an aeronautical chart and a pre-flight inspection of the airplane.  It’s always the hope but no guarantee that the young eagle may have a chance to take the controls during the flight, but Donovan had a chance and he handled it with confidence.  He had butterflies, to be sure, but that didn’t stop him from doing his co-pilot duty!  In fact, when Donovan finished his 30 minute flight, he whispered to his Dad, “I think I could have landed that plane!”

I was inspired to write about this and share with readers after I learned about a rather funny incident that happened while Donny’s father, Ryan, chatted with people on the ground.  He struck up a conversation with a Young Eagles volunteer who was assigned the role of ground handler.  Armed with orange wands, she directed planes onto the runway.   As they chatted, Ryan learned that the woman’s son had started with the Young Eagles and grew up to become a UPS pilot.  So her son achieved his dream!  But this wasn’t the end of the story; the woman went on to share that her son had been obsessed with fans when he was a little guy.  My son Ryan stopped dead in his tracks and said, “You have got to be kidding me!”   “No, I’m not kidding,” she said “Why, what’s the matter?”  Ryan then shared the improbable coincidence that 14 year old Donovan had also been obsessed with fans when he was a little tyke.  Now, what are the odds?  Perhaps this is all some wonderful synchronicity indicating that Donovan’s future will have a similar track to her son’s. I wonder how many other pilots out there were obsessed with fans when they were young?

Mechanics and objects that turn have always fascinated Donovan.  He was also obsessed by things that opened and closed, such as car doors and old, antique squeaky doors of country cottages.  He was barely two years old when he set about to play with a rear door at a relative’s country house when someone asked: “Can’t Donovan just sit in the kitchen and play with utensils and pans in the cupboards?”  (That is what our kids did in a pre-smart phone age.  A very handy indoor playground indeed for inquisitive toddlers). 

But Donovan was different – he liked the squeaky, rusty door and the way the hinges kept whining.  As I watched him open and close that patio door repeatedly and I mean repeatedly(!), concentrating his laser like eyes on how the hinges worked and why they made noise, I just sighed and said to the relative: “I don’t think that’s going to happen!”  Now look at my Best Bud!  Soaring with eagles!

I chronicled Donovan’s infatuation with fans in my Oct. ’17 blog Thinking about “Think”. 

“I can see now see the bright and big inquisitive brown eyes of a toddler watching a fan go round and round. My grandson at an early age loved mechanical things and fans were his obsession, in addition to the tumbling, rolling, turning innards of a “front loading” washing machine or dryer. I kid you not. As I held him in my arms and his eyes turned towards the ceiling fan, I could see, taste, hear and smell his thoughts first and then he uttered the words that still send us into spasms of deep belly laughs.  Speaking of himself in third person and with all the seriousness of a college professor, he intoned:

“Go ahead, Donovan, you can do it. You can touch the fan. It’s okay.”

And now instead of pointing to a ceiling fan, he’s starting the engines of a Cessna 172.  He wants you to know that one day he intends to ferry you across sun kissed skies and over international waters in a big commercial airplane, maybe with Alaska, United or Delta. He’s already researched where they fly, pilots’ pay, hiring requirements (college degree, flight hours, license), and where their biggest hubs are, etc.

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SFO Airport View while Donovan waited to board plane

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Donovan, age 10, in a Virgin America Airbus A320

If one day you are boarding a plane and see a handsome young man in the cockpit with twinkling brown eyes, a high wattage  smile, and a gentle, winning personality, I hope you will greet him and give an enthusiastic thumbs up to my hero, PIC (pilot in command) : “Captain Donovan”.

What are your dreams?  Whatever they may be, Donny and I hope all your dreams take wing…and happy St. Paddy’s Day! 🍀❤️🍀

Love.

S.G.

 

21 thoughts on “Soaring with Eagles ~ (A Kid’s Dream)

    • How very kind of you. Knowing of your passion for travel, the odds may be that you and Donovan will run into each other!

      We’ve had a sunny weekend here in NorCal (great for St Paddy’s parades!) after what someone termed “three months of rain”.
      🙀💦☔️

      Thank you again for reading – as a grandmother yourself, I’m sure you can identify with my sense of pride 😁

      Love
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzette,

      You make my day when you come around these parts of swooning grace country. I can actually picture David at a young age, serious but with a mischievous look in his eye! He told me that he knew he needed to stretch his wings beyond England and explore the world. So he fulfilled that dream; and YOU, you always amaze me – the 4’10’ stick of dynamite who steered by her intuition and courage, and carved out such an incredible fascinating life, full of adventures, people, travel, laughter, family, friends, and numerous accomplishments. You are living the dream!

      You always bring sunshine to my world and I’m glad you liked this piece about Donny who is same age as your first grandchild. It’s an honor to have them in our lives, eh?, and watch them bloom into these wonderful, magnanimous human beings.

      Love,
      S.G.
      S.G.

      Like

    • Dear Molly,

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting. My grandchildren are my passion, so of course it’s a thrill when someone agrees to read about one of them and comment! This was so much fun to write, and because I was trying to limit my word count (a tall order! ha ha), I did not state that I once had a dream of becoming a flight attendant and even taking flying lessons. But I did not have the confidence and singular focus of a Donovan. My Father was in the Air Force and wanted very badly to become a pilot but his eye sight wasn’t good enough. Perhaps it will be Donovan who will bring this multi-generational dream to its ultimate fulfillment. And of course, whatever he decides to do, he’ll always be numero uno in my book 😉

      Bless you!

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

      • I am passionate about my grandchildren, too, S.G. My older grandson, who is seven, was just in a community play and I’m so proud of him! I don’t think I could have gotten up on stage at his age. My husband wanted to be a pilot and because of a medical condition could not pursue. He can identify a plane with a quick glance, no matter how high in the sky and it amazes me. I am sad for him that he could not get his pilot’s license. I wish the very best for Donovan.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing that about your grandchild and husband, Molly! Who knows the whys and wherefores behind our life’s trajectory.

        I’m sure Donovan could have long conversations with your hubby 😁.

        🍀❤️🍀
        SG

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Loved this post and it gave me a chance to better know Donny. What a gift to know your calling early in life. It made me laugh to think of a photo of my husband David at the age of 13 in a white lab coat, knowing early on, that he wanted to work in science. Today he’s retired from the biotech industry having devoted his life to finding a cure to Hepatitis B and C (and yes he had a hand in the development of the Harvoni drug). Now me, I’ve gone through three career changes – legal secretary, legal association director and now a journalist. What do I want to BE when I grow up? How about 5’2.” Oh, darn, that ship has sailed said the 4’10” writer. Love you and your family, Sue!

    Suzette Martinez Standring
    http://www.readsuzette.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Suzette,

      You make my day when you come around these parts of swooning grace country. I can actually picture David at a young age, serious but with a mischievous look in his eye! He told me that he knew he needed to stretch his wings beyond England and explore the world. So he fulfilled that dream; and YOU, you always amaze me – the 4’10” stick of dynamite who steered by her intuition and courage, and carved out such an incredible fascinating life, full of adventures, people, travel, laughter, family, friends, and numerous accomplishments. You are living the dream!

      You always bring sunshine to my world and I’m glad you liked this piece about Donny who is same age as your first grandchild. It’s an honor to have them in our lives, eh?, and watch them blossom into these wonderful, magnanimous human beings.

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

  2. Wow! What an exceptional young man. You have good reason to be so proud of him. One day in the not-too-near future, I will have to watch for “Captain Donny” flying the airplane I am traveling on. I enjoyed reading about this talented youngster!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thank you so much, Laurie! Such sweet, supportive responses like yours are so encouraging. As a retired teacher, I’m sure you’ve run across many exceptional kids over the years. I just wanted to share with others my love and admiration for Donovan. It was such a pleasure to write about him! So thank you again for reading and commenting.

      Hoping that spring is arriving for you east-coasters pretty soon. It’s right around the corner!

      Love,
      S.G.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Susan, I ‘get it’ on the children and grandchildren, the love and pride we feel for them. Donovan is an inspiration. It likely helps that he is surrounded by loving parents and grandparents that support and nurture his interest in aviation at a young age. His dreams are very much a part of him. Your story reminds me of Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s guide to life on Earth.” Chris Hadfield was a very young boy (around 9) when he became interested in flying and being an astronaut. This book is really interesting and a fun read, if you haven’t already read it. I had goosebumps when you relayed the coincidence about the fans. I look forward to seeing Captain Donovan in my future travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear E/E:

      Thank you for the recommendation of Hadfield’s book. No, I haven’t heard of it but it sounds like a good birthday/Christmas present for an aspiring aviator! I had so much fun writing about Donovan and the comments have been so kind and supportive. I know not everyone has supportive family, but I am beyond grateful for having the family that I do. Thanks again for reading and leaving your great comment and the book recommendation. More and more people are going to be on the lookout now in years to come for Pilot Donovan, aspiring towards Captain 🙂

      Be well.

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

  4. Susan: So – first of all, I want to apologize for just now getting around to ready your post!! You know how life can be!! Crazy busy!! That being said, what a wonderful and inspiring young man!!!! He is awesome and following his dream!! I will be definitely looking for Captain Donovan on my flights in the future!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Bonny

      Oh thank you for reading! No worries about the delay – you are one of my most faithful readers and I so appreciate it. Thank you for your wonderful comment – I know that you and I are on a similar path with our putting grandchildren high up there on the priority list! In fact, we live for them. Donovan is a special kid and I’m so glad I got to write about him.

      Life is an adventure and watching our grandkids explore their dreams is something I would not want to miss out on.

      Love,
      S.G.

      Like

    • Great memories that make me laugh every time and it never gets old 😂. I’ve got a pilot in the making, a soccer pro, an Olympic swimmer, a veterinarian who likes to do surgery on dogs 😁, a baseball player, and no doubt a police officer as well! I LOVE watching these kids grow up.

      Love,
      Mom

      Like

  5. Hi Susan,

    What a cute and uplifting story! Your enthusiasm in sharing it really shone through.

    Wow, does he seem like he has a destiny! Kind of cool that he knows what he wants to do from an early age.

    What a cutie. I loved the pictures. So nice to have so much support from his parents, you, and I’m sure others!

    It will be interesting to see what happens with him.

    I look forward to the day that he can fly me across the skies!

    Thanks so much for sharing. Just love how you write!!!

    Like

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