Tag Archives: balloon handler

It’s Never Too Late

Pursue your dreams. Reach for the stars. Take a leap of faith. Just do it. You only live once.

I’ve heard them all before. My mind screams with thoughts about following my dreams and accomplishing my goals.  I hear inspirational stories all of the time that get my blood pumping and compel me to do whatever it is that I always wanted to do. Yet, once that flock of enthusiastic goose bumps fades, I don’t move a muscle.

I’ve watched as the Susan Boyles of the world made it happen. I sat in awe of the double amputee performing in the Olympic games. I listened to the 95-year-old college graduate state “it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.” I remain paralyzed.

My heart swells with emotion over the accomplishments of  complete strangers; meanwhile doubts, fear and uncertainty are being pumped into my head preventing me from fulfilling my own. Ah, there really is nothing like curling up with a cozy set of fear & self-doubt. 

What’s holding me back? What am I waiting for? What will everyone think? Am I good enough?

Then it happened. An offer I couldn’t refuse. Fate had entered the building and I was presented with an opportunity to pursue one of my long time dreams. Drum roll please… 

I am officially a Balloon Handler or as I prefer, Latex Engineer in the

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade! 

What?  You thought I would be climbing a freaking mountain? Please! If I’m climbing, it’s onto a barstool.  Ok, ok so my dream may not be on the grandiose scale of climbing mountains, but the upside to my shortcomings is…my dream is doable.

Thanks to my long time friend, who pleaded repeatedly on her Facebook page for volunteers to represent the SPCA in the parade, I will be on the other end of a 40-foot vinyl Lorax.

If you didn’t already know, the Lorax has been inspiring kids to think and talk about the environment for more than ten years. A match made in heaven, if I do say so myself.

Now, I will admit when I first realized this dream could be a reality, my heart did skip a beat. I didn’t respond immediately because believe it or not, I loathe parades. I know, I know, I know. Just another opportunity for doubt to creep into this over-crowded head. Do I let my dream die over a mere technicality like loathing the venue? Hell no!

As you might imagine, my enthusiasm over this opportunity has been met with mixed reactions. The expression to your right followed by long awkward pauses, high-pitched responses and laughter pretty much sums it up. It was probably due to my OMG! GUESS WHAT I’M GOING TO DO? introduction. 

Hard Core Training Session

I’ve already attended training not practice TRAINING last week, which was a bit of an eye opener.

A woman in our group, who did not appear to be ruler of the free world, felt the need to answer her cell phone while holding the balloon. As if that wasn’t bad enough, during the “clockwise” “counter-clockwise” session there was lets just say….hesitation. Dear Lord I’m in Mr. Kotter’s class!  

I’m praying confident they’ll pull it together on the big day. Feel free to throw a Hail Mary’s this way …  just in case.

Since the training, several emails have been sent with additional instructions. One in particular titled ABSOLUTELY NO EARMUFFS!! left me baffled. Confession: The all caps and double explication points had me laughing out loud.  It remains a mystery as to why the EARMUFFS are banished from the parade, but if I’m being honest, it makes me want to wear them even more.

Now that we’re getting down to the wire, I received my “BALLOON HANDER JOB DESCRIPTION” it was written exactly as it appears. Let me just say, in case there were any doubts, Latex Engineer will be added to my resume. It’s much more complex than you imagine…trust me. 

So while everyone is gathered around the table this Thanksgiving expressing their gratitude for the years bounty, I will be coming down from my high after a stellar performance at the 92nd annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Living the dream and Enjoying the Ride!

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