Last week I came across this Buzzfeed article, and it brought back a traumatic childhood memory.
I have always been a huge animal lover and as a kid I wanted all kinds of exotic pets. I wanted a dolphin in a salt water pool, and penguins that could live in the bathtub and freezer. I’d beg my parents regularly for animals that clearly cannot and should not be pets.
My dad’s brother lives in Australia and comes to visit the States once a year to see family for a few weeks. When I was around 7 or 8, he was coming to visit us in Los Angeles for a week and I was so excited. My uncle has always seemed exotic with all his travels, and hippie background. Before making the trip to visit us, he asked what my sister and I wanted him to bring us. I’m sure my sister asked for some jewelry (his business), but I had no time for jewelry. I solemnly told him and my parents I wanted a baby kangaroo. My uncle said he would bring me one, and my parents were completely on board. I was shocked. I was sure this exotic pet request would be shot down like all me previous ones, but they all said he could bring me the baby kangaroo. I was so excited.
I started to plan for my baby kangaroo. I figured out where it would sleep and made it a little bed. In the weeks leading up to my uncle’s visit, I’d ask my parents questions about kangaroos like what they ate, and what they liked to do for fun. I was planning for how to take care of my kangaroo. My parents would answer my questions, and I’d just get more excited.
I COULD NOT WAIT FOR MY UNCLE TO ARRIVE WITH MY BABY KANGAROO.
When the day finally came that my uncle would be arriving I was so excited. I insisted on going with my dad to get them from the air port. My entire mom and sister ended up coming too, since my uncle coming to visit is always a big deal since he comes so rarely and from so far away. I assumed my baby kangaroo would be in a carrier like we had for our dog, and I just waited at the arrival gate waiting to see him walk off the plane with the carrier in hand (this was back when you could actually go to the gate to meet people). When we finally saw my uncle, and there was no carrier in his hand, I assumed it must have been with the baggage like our dog had to be when we moved from Florida to Los Angeles. When all the pleasantries and hugs were being exchanged and it was my turn to hug my uncle, I demanded to know where my baby kangaroo was. My uncle and parents started to laugh, then when they saw I was about to burst into hysterics they all began to look at each other concerned. Apparently it had never occurred to any of them that I actually believed I was getting a baby kangaroo. They thought it was a joke, and that I knew it was a joke the whole time. How could they joke about something as serious as a baby kangaroo?!
I was 7 or 8. I had no clue about the laws regarding the import of exotic animals, or that Australia probably prohibits the export of a baby kangaroo. All I knew was I wanted a baby kangaroo and all the adults said I could have one. I was crushed. I started to immediately cry. Not pitch a fit cry, the whiney “but you said I could have one” pathetic cry. I couldn’t stop. As far as I was concerned, all my life dreams were crushed. My mom pulled me to the side and tried to explain that you can’t have a kangaroo as a pet and that you aren’t allowed to have them in America. She was trying to explain the rationality of why I couldn’t have a kangaroo and that they were all very sorry I thought they were serious, and that they should have made sure I knew it was a joke from the beginning. Her trying to soothe me and make me feel better. I’m pretty sure I was in tears the whole way home, and on and off the rest of the day. I’d spent weeks planning for and thinking of my baby kangaroo. My sadness turned to anger at all the adults for playing a mean jokes on me and I did a lot of pouting during that visit.
Obviously, I got over my baby kangaroo, and I am sure moved on to some new, impossible, exotic pet.
So on top of making sure I will never find my name on anything, my parents also played jokes on me. What jerks (said with love). I still tell them and my uncle they all owe me my baby kangaroo, and whenever I see him, I ask him where it is. We all laugh about it now, and they don’t let me forget how dramatic I was.
I can’t wait to be a parent so I can be a jerk to my kids.