I do not know Bindi but I am not alone in saying I feel so incredibly proud of her.

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I do not know Bindi but I am not alone in saying I feel so incredibly proud of her.

Best part of my week?
Going to Australia Zoo to celebrate Bindi Irwin turning 21 years old.

I do not know Bindi but I am not alone in saying I feel so incredibly proud of her. If Prince Harry was the little boy the world wanted to throw their arms around after he lost his famous mum, then surely we all felt our hearts shatter when a tiny Bindi and Robert Irwin lost their dad 13 years ago. They were only 8 and 2 years old respectively when Steve was stung in his chest by a barb from a stingray. I will never forget that day.

I was on air on radio and our entire show turned into a tribute to the great Irwins as tens of thousands of Coasties grieved together and flocked to Australia Zoo. None of us could believe the news. The world lost an icon and a hero but Bindi lost a dad and a role model and no doubt her most naughty friend. Can you imagine being tucked into bed at night by Steve Irwin? How fun he must have been as a dad.

I will never forget how Steve’s face used to light up at press conferences whenever his little girl was mentioned. I went to the media scrum the day the enthusiastic dad announced the birth of Bindi. Terri and him named their precious female baby after their favourite crocodile (Bindi) and favourite dog (Sue). It set the course for a unique life.

Bindi is now of course world famous and has recorded hundreds of TV shows; is an accomplished singer and dancer; an advocate for animal and land rights; and clearly a smart businesswoman with amazing life purposes. And she is a total goddess to my 3 children. And I will be forever grateful for the Irwin’s influence over my kids. They are such wonderful role models in a world filled with cardboard Kardashians.

Thanks to Bindi and her brother my kids love animals and are walking encyclopaedias on lemurs and red pandas. Bindi posted on her Facebook page about coming of age: “In my life I’ve learned the value of kindness and respect. As a young woman in this social media driven world I’ve found that it’s of utmost importance to be uplifting and encouraging. Stand up for what you believe in and let your light SHINE.”

My kids have run into the Irwins at the zoo a few times. Bindi has always dropped to her knees and called my little ones “love” and “sweetie”. Robert too has gone out of his way to talk to his little fans when he could have easily slipped away from the strangers to peace and quiet. Another time I ran into the Irwin family at work and a few of us had a very passionate debate about Donald Trump.

They held their own and can mix with young and old. They are both such well- rounded and high achieving humble human beings. I hope you are having a quiet toast of bubbles yourself Terri because you have done a bloody marvellous job of raising those kids. I also hope Steve’s dad, Bob, sees Bindi for her birthday. It is private what happened with that rift but Steve would want his dad and his kids to have a relationship.

Here’s to you Bindi: happy birthday you shining light in an often-dark world. Your dad will be twinkling with pride from the heavens above for you.

Sami xx

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