Happy Mother's Day: Shelly Pays Tribute

Photo courtesy of Shelly Lesikar deZevallos

While I know this is about moms, because my parents divorced in my early teens, my Dad (Woody Lesikar) ended up having to play both roles in a way since I lived with him. Don’t get me wrong - my mom is an amazing mother and an incredible grandmother - they just separated and I went with my dad and my sister went to live with mom. And because of his passion that turned into his profession, flying has always been an integral part of my life. I was helping sweep his hangar out at six years old, alphabetizing his Jepp charts as I was older (sometimes there were a few mistakes ;)) and then as one of his flight students when I was 15.  I loved coming out to the airport to watch him around planes - it was and still is his passion, which has led to an amazing and passionate career for me.   

Fast forward 20 years and I’m a mom of twin girls. They are almost six years old and have been flying with me and my husband and I since they were 4 weeks old. They are growing up in our hangar/home around airplanes.   

My dad instilled in me not only the love of flying, but the processes that come with it. Flying requires skill, commitment and proper decision making abilities - traits that I have now because of flying. You have to be committed and follow through with the proper training.  You have to be proficient and practice those flying skills to be safe.  And through flying, you learn to make the right decisions - whether it’s a last minute go-around, an impending electrical failure thus determining what airport you need to get to relatively quickly, or other flight emergencies - these decision making process taught me skills in life that I use constituently.   

Whether it’s a commitment to continue my education or a commitment to raising our children with our values, or evaluating the choices to make decisions affecting our lives, learning and continuing to fly, the aspects of flying have enabled us to be better people, to make better decisions and to follow through on our commitments. We’ve even used the comment, “Follow the magenta path” to our girls - alluding to the GPS in the plane - when we mean to be on the right path. 

On a more personal note - the best sunrises and sunsets are seen from an airplane. There is no picture in the world that can describe the joy of being on top of a cloud deck and watching the sun come up.  It’s a joy that only pilots and those lucky passengers get to see.   

My husband and I had a hard time trying to conceive and we obviously finally did. I was actually flying up until I was 6 months pregnant in my husband's A36. My big ole’ belly and I were definitely one of those ‘memorable’ people getting out of an airplane. I remember flying into OKC about six months after the girls were born, the line guy came up to me and said hello and asked me how the babies were.  I asked him how he could possibly remember that.  He said as politely as he could, “Well, ma’am, there aren’t that many pregnant women who fly their own airplanes.”   

I want my girls to do what they want to.  Little Sarah has said over and over that she wants to be an astronaut.  I believe that giving her the same lessons I’ve learned through flying will help her become an astronaut.    

Katharine has so much energy and is such an empathetic child she just hops into the airplane when we go on a trip.   

My Dad taught me to persevere, through thick and then. Flying, the gift he gave me, has taught me patience, joy and fortitude.  Something I believe we are instilling in our girls through our flying.

Thank you!


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