Childhood dreams DO come true.
When I was little, like many little princesses, I dreamt of being rich and famous when I grew up. Then, for awhile, I dreamt of being an icecream truck driver. (It seemed like the perfect job– making kids happy and an unlimited supply of icecream!) Eventually I grew older, wiser, and was determined to become a kindergarten teacher at Princeton University “because it was pretty and close to apple picking!” Throughout my early childhood, my dreams varied, but one theme remained constant: my love of making others smile. One of the things that always made me smile was spending time with my grandparents.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have my mom’s parents living in the same town as me. They raised me, right alongside my parents. They were supportive, loving, and everything grandparents should be. We always had a really special bond, and, to this day, I hold them very close to my heart.
Every week, on Tuesdays my younger siblings & I would be picked up by Grandpa after school and go back to his and Grandma’s house, where we would eat a snack (usually popcorn), do our homework, and eat dinner together. Grandpa would usually take the long way home from school, stopping at a park to play on a play ground or visit the animals. (We had a petting zoo very close by growing up.) Grandpa instilled a love of animals in us from a very young age. His love of animals, particularly birds, was contagious. Even though flapping pigeons freak me out now, I have a huge love of bird watching and identifying different birds.
One of the things we also did with my grandparents was watch Jack Hanna on tv or Jack Hanna VHS tapes. I became very acquainted with Jack and his crew, and I could sit for hours with my siblings and grandparents watching Jack Hanna go on all sorts of animal adventures. He was a huge part of my childhood, and I’d even venture to call him a childhood idol. If nothing else, I associate him and his adventures with my late grandpa, who means the world to me.
On Sunday, I went on an animal adventure of my own: last week, Groupon sent out an email about discounted tickets to see Jack Hanna 10 minutes away from where I live! I quickly convinced my sister and Grandma to go with me, and on Sunday we had THE TIME OF OUR LIVES.
We arrived at the theatre a bit early, and I had to stop in the restroom. When I came out, I walked over to Grandma and the sis AND JACK HANNA WALKED OUT BEHIND THEM. We took the opportunity to meet good ol’ Jack, and Grandma basically shoved me out of the way so she could have a picture with him because she “knew Jack longer.” Hehehe. I really appreciated how Jack took the time to meet with fans before the show, and how he even waited around afterwards to meet as many fans as possible.
Childhood dreams may be fleeting, but sometimes they really do come true.
Maybe next time I’ll drive an ice cream truck.