The day before yesterday, I met the most charming 10 year old girl, named Mia. (Really, her name was Mia. It’s just a coincidence that one of the Morrow Girls is also named Mia.) I was at the neighborhood park with my 3-year old daughter. Just to paint the scene here…everyday after school I pick my daughter up from the school bus, which is literally a stone’s throw from the park, and she begs to go to the playground. She’s obsessed with the slide. So, on this day in particular, I cave and follow behind my toddler, who really needs a nap more than she needs playtime. And who do we see swinging to and fro on the monkey bars? Mia.
I really wish I’d taken my phone so I could share a snapshot of this girl because if the folks at Webster ever set their minds to illustrating the word fearless, there would be a photo of this child positioned under the word. But seeing as I’m a writer and writers are supposed to be wordsmiths, I’ll try to recreate her image.
She stands about 4’10” with shoulder-length dark blonde hair, pulled into a messy ponytail at the nape of her neck. She’s wearing a tee shirt and basketball shorts, neither of which match in the least. She has bright eyes and a big smile that’s welcoming her first few adult teeth.
Now, back to the fearless part. Mia scales the playground as if it’s an obstacle course, a test determining whether or not she’ll meet army standards. The words effortless and grace come to mind. She slides across this propeller-looking thing I swear they didn’t have when I was her age. Lands on her feet, only to climb to the highest point of the slide, and walk (yes, I said walk) across the monkey bars. Where normal kids put their hands, this girl put her feet, which put her at least 12 feet off the ground. Did she stumble? Did she fall? Lord knows if she did I would’ve run screaming across the playground, expecting to find broken bones, but she didn’t. She didn’t even hesitate. And I said to myself—”Damn. I think I like this girl.”
Once she decided to take it down a notch and occupy one of the two swings, I struck up a conversation with her. Here’s how it went:
Me: You are fearless. Girls like you are the future.
Mia: Thanks. (She says beaming).
Me: Don’t ever change.
Mia: I won’t. My mom won’t let me.
Me: Do you play sports?
Mia: No. They don’t have sports at my school. But I wanna play hockey at church school. And football.
Me: What do you wanna be when you grow up?
Just let that marinate. Now, how freaking awesome is that? That little girl just made my week. She is the reason why I started Bravebird Publishing. And on top of that my baby (who’s no longer a baby) got to see firsthand what fearlessness looks like. I’ve never been more proud to be a girl.