An Open Letter to Helene Hadfield

Dear Mrs. Hadfield;

I want to sincerely thank you for sharing your husband with the world.

It was ‘Music Monday’ and my kids came home humming “If you could see our nation, from the International Space Station’, I had no idea what they were babbling about and then my daughter asked if she could use my computer to watch some You Tube videos.

‘Yeah, let’s do the teeth brushing one.’  ‘No, no I like the one about the food.’ ‘Oh, yeah and the song, let’s watch the song.’

I still had no idea what they were talking about, but there’s 5 of them so I was quickly outnumbered.  To keep the fighting to a dull roar I sat down with them and starting trying to find what they were talking about.  Ten seconds with a floating tortilla and I was hooked.

Thousands of people watched those videos, but I wonder how many of them stopped to think that he gave up time he could have been talking to you to educate us.  I eagerly awaited his next post, and I am just now considering that you may have been doing the same.  That while we waited to hear his voice, and see the sparkle in his eye, and be inspired by his awe of the universe- you were right there with us.  Except you also experienced the heart ache to get there, you were with him every step of the way, you were there on that space station; that part of your life that was missing on earth, and every time your world was whole, we were there watching too.

I had the opportunity to meet your husband, for a brief second and quite by chance.  We needed to go to Costco and kept on getting delayed in our day, by the time we went we just wanted to rush through and get home again.  We walked through the door to see the sign-and the line- to meet Mr. Hadfield.  Our kids were still singing that blasted song, (OK maybe I was too), and asked if we could stand in line.  We waited an hour which didn’t exactly fly by, but also wasn’t awful and when we finally got to meet him I wanted to rush the kids through.

‘Okay, just say hello and get the booked signed and let the next people in, they’ve been waiting as long as us.’ One of those brutal people pleaser moments where you don’t know if you should please your people or the people, and I was choosing wrong.  I was trying to rush them past the first ‘celebrity’ they had ever wanted to meet.  The person who expanded their worldview outside of the ozone.  And do you know what your husband did?  He smiled at them while signing the book and asked them a few questions.  Then he looked at me and my husband and said, ‘You’re doing a great job raising these kids.  They are so polite.  Thanks for coming to see me guys.’  I was stunned.  I didn’t know what to say.  I think my husband said something, and there were pictures.

And I was intrigued, so I actually read that book we got signed.

I want to thank you for being an example to wives that you can be fully supportive of your husband’s dreams and ambitions without having to deny yourself yours.

I know a little something about letting my husband have the freedom to follow his dreams.  We have moved around the country and while we have roots, we are ready to have wings at any time.  I’ve done a lot of single parenting in the name of a spouse’s passion.  I’ve learned to hold my plans in an open hand and not expect tomorrow to turn out the way I think it will today.

But, my husband and I, we are still two separate people.  We each have our own dreams and passions and causes.  I saw that in Mr. Hadfield’s book, each move became a new adventure and you explored it, not just for what it brought him, but also how it could enhance your life and expand your world.  You stepped back to let him go full tilt after his dreams, all the while doing things like going to law school or learning to ride a horse.  It was so refreshing to read a memoir that personified that saying: “Behind every great man there is a great woman,”–but dinner may be late because that woman is hiking the Inca Trail.

Your husband’s time aboard the ISS brought our home so many great things.  We got to see the end of a journey you walked every step of.  Thank you for cheering him on, for being his biggest support, for believing in him as much as he believed in himself.  Thank you for being so open and genuine and authentic with the world.

I want to say thank you for for your continued selflessness. chris3

Not just while he was in space, but during the book tour, and all the public events he will speak, or sing, at for us.  For taking the time to wait while he signs autographs, for your grace when your coffee is cold because he can’t even going to Tim Hortons without a crowd wanting some of his time.  Thank you for letting him go, when you just want him ‘come home soon’.  For letting us feel like we ‘know’ the two of you.

Thank you for stretching our your arms, empowering your husband to take flight, and being his soft place to land at the end of this long journey.  He is who he is, in part, because of you and I am so grateful that you shared yourself with us as well.  Thank you for letting us feel like family, or at least close friends, and I hope that we get the hint when you’re ready for some space- that you don’t have to go to the ISS to find it.



(My response to the challenge: publish a post for your dream reader, write to one specific person.)

One Comment on “An Open Letter to Helene Hadfield

  1. Amanda, again you penned an exceptional post. You said so many things from your heart. I feel this letter should be sent to Helene Hadfield.

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