My daughter is a cautious person. She needs to warm up to situations, is hesitant to try new things and finds a safe spot crouched next to me with her arms wrapped around my leg.
When with close friends, she transforms into a leader who laughs a bellowing roar and chants, “Girls rule, boys drool.” But when that comfort zone is not around her, she is timid.
This has been challenging for me at times. “Timid” is not a word that I think has ever been used to describe me.
But this has been a year of firsts for my girl that have filled her with a new sense of confidence. This year she moved to lap lane in swimming where she is gearing up for swim team. This year she learned to ride a bike without training wheels. And this year she completed her first kids triathlon.
On Saturday, with a thunderstorm looming and my son’s birthday party later in the day, we all went out in the dark of the morning for my daughter to participate in her first triathlon. We practiced transitions from swim to bike to run with her, we got all the gear she’d need, and we talked up the race every single day. But as we waited the two hours for the older kids to finish before her turn, she clung to my leg a little harder and told me she loved me a few too many times. She was nervous but trying to keep it together.
And then it was her turn.
From the second she jumped into the water, my heart soared. My daughter transformed into the most confident human being I have ever seen. She dominated that swim. Crushed that bike ride. And ran to the finish with the biggest smile on her face.
I can honestly say that I never felt so proud of someone in my entire life.
It wasn’t because she did a sport or anything like that. It was because she was afraid of something and conquered that fear with confidence and a fire I hadn’t seen before.
All day I would find myself just looking over at her and smiling. She might be wearing the finalist medal but I feel like I won that day. I won the chance to see my girl shine.
Shine on, sweet baby.