Baby Jude, Jane and us parents were lucky enough to be invited to a day out with Thomas the Tank Engine and DreamNight at the Zoo, courtesy of Akron Children’s Hospital. We can’t say thank you enough to the hospital. They were both such great events, with great people putting them on.
With Thomas the Tank, I can safely say that Baby Jude had a fantastic time. The train movement confused him a bit, but he was clapping, laughing and trying to get a glimpse out the window after awhile. Our girl, Jane, was lucky enough to come along for the ride, and she could not have enjoyed herself more. Vance and I exhaled and laughed at their laughter. Thomas the Train, with Akron Children’s help, was awesome.
DreamNight. There should be novels written about this. As I understand it, zoos and hospitals worldwide partner on the first Friday night in June to give pediatric patients and their immediate families a night at the zoo. A night where wheelchairs can get around easier and medical personnel is right around the corner. A night where the zoo animals are ready to roar, as are the patients. Roaring with laughter that is. It was more than amazing.
From the volunteers who help with an oversized stroller, to those who help with a loose toddler (mine), to those who help with registration and then to all of the little extras. Baby Jude got an Akron zoo hat. We got a disposable camera – fun pics from a wee man’s point of view!
We got hugs from people we have only ever run into in the orange elevators or lobby at Akron Children’s. So many times you see the same faces in a hospital setting, like familiar strangers. You smile. You give knowing looks of reassurance, but you don’t always speak and really introduce yourselves. That is until you are in a magical place like DreamNight. It’s filled with incredible children, incredible families, incredible volunteers (Akron Fire Department, Summit County mounted police with the horses – you name it!) and it’s filled with ease.
Smiles and glances turn into hugs. Familiar strangers turn into friends whose names I now know. And all of it was easy. I watched families with much more challenging involvements for their kids than ours – and they moved around with ease. The whole night was loving, fun, reassuring, and perfect. DreamNight was like old home week for some hospital folks. In fact, it was dreamlike.
Grateful, Prayerful & Hopeful.
Read more about Baby Jude and Jane from the rest of Sarah’s blog, Hey Jude!.