By Jennifer Bridgman

Chris and I were 32, married for less than a year and putting the finishing touches on a baby nursery when life unraveled at the seams after a motocross crash crushed his spinal cord and left him a T10 para. He spent just one month in rehab following emergency spinal fusion surgery. At the end of his first week back home, I gave birth to our first child.  Bridgman1

Today, a year later, Feb. 22, 2011, we’re at the airport, beginning our trip to Maui to commemorate the first anniversary of his accident, our son’s upcoming first birthday, and all the other blessings — big and small — that had come our way in the past 12 months.

“Can you believe this?” Chris cried out in mock distress. “He hasn’t even offered to buy me a drink yet!”

Chuckles erupted around the terminal. I grinned back at Chris, shifted the baby on my hip and glanced at the man who knelt beside Chris’ wheelchair — a TSA badge on his sleeve and blue latex gloves on his hands. Not even he could suppress a smile, but he did not hesitate in his quest, patting down Chris’ abdomen, hips, lower back, thighs and calves. Then he swabbed his backpack and wheelchair to test for trace explosive residue.

The man cleared his throat but did not look up. “I appreciate your patience,” he repeated. “We’re juuust about done here.” Bridgman10

My parents, the baby and I surveyed the scene from a distance, having already gone through the main security checkpo