Well, this is pretty crazy, but I am going on my 8th trip with Kidd’s Kids to Disney World! Every year, I realize how lucky we are to have this opportunity… but, this year… this year is extra meaningful. This is something that is continuing, and will continue for years to come, even after the creator and mastermind behind it passed on. That is a legacy. We should all strive to leave positivity behind us. He did just that. When you think of Kidd Kraddick, you will remember the incredibly talented personality. Larger than life. But, I guarantee, you will also think of Kidd’s Kids. Life has to go on, but if I can make half the impact he has made on other people, I will feel successful. For 20 years, Kidd took families on a trip of a lifetime. If you do the math… that’s at least 15 people he took on trips. haha.
I still remember how nervous I felt on my first trip, I was nervous. First of all, I had never, nor could I have ever afforded to go to Disney World. I grew up on the opposite coast. Not only did Kidd give me the job of my dreams, he gave me the life of my dreams. I was asked what I owe to Kidd, and my answer is: everything I have today. We have talked about how this trip helps these families. It does, but it also helps us. Not to sound redundant, but this is my yearly reminder to enjoy life… even more so this year. You never know what can happen. These memories we make today, could be our last. It teaches me not to live with fear. You control your attitude. You control what you do and say. You control if you want to be happy… although things tend to make that a difficult thing from time to time. The rest, is up to the world.
So when Kidd was talking to me about the trip, before taking off on my first flight, I asked him what I was going to do. I like to know what is happening, what I am going to be doing, where, what time… I like to keep a schedule. It keeps me sane. As juvenile as I am, I need structure in my day… even when it comes to what time I eat. Weird, I know. I was babbling, mostly because it was my first go at this, and Kidd just looked at me, as if had enough of my run on sentences, and said, “dude! I just need you to go out there and be a kid.” That. Simple!
“Go out there and be a kid.” That is what I do for five days a year (some may say that I do that 365 days a year, and by “some”, I mean Kinsey), in the happiest place on earth. We all get asked, “how do you do it? How do you keep it together on the trip?” How? Because I am too busy playing, having fun, laughing, creating friendships, and memories. See, I am too into having a blast with these kids, to think about anything sad. If I think about it, they think about it… and that’s not what this is about. Like Big Al said during his botched news interview a couple of years ago, “well… uh… Kidd’s Kids is an organization that… an organization that is a smile to every kids face.” Dang right… dang right, it is. It’s also a smile on our faces too.
Believe it or not, I still chat with some former Kidd’s Kids. Keeping a relationship with every family is tough, but some click. Maddie Ferguson, Marcos Saldana, and Rowan Winham are some that I talk pretty regularly with. Rowan even started his own way to raise money. Lemonade stands, and selling autographed pictures. If he can’t be at his lemonade stand, he skypes. He is a stud. He was with me the day we lost Kidd… and a couple of days later he checked in on me by sending me a picture of him smiling along with this message from his mom:
“Hi Jsi, Rowan’s been really worried about you. Tonight he said, ‘maybe if he could see me smile, he would smile’. So here you go 😉 Praying for peace, healing and strength for you all.”
That is what comes from this trip… A lil 7 year old, battling for his life, having surgeries basically every month… and he cares about how I am feeling. So when you wonder what gave me the strength to go on the radio, and keep trying to make Kidd proud, I can honestly say this: that text was a major factor.
Having people like Rowan, Maddie, and Marcos in my life happened because of Kidd. Full circle… it was more like an oval, but you get my drift.