We saw a bunch of school kids playing on our walk around the park the other day. Plaid skirts and ties, navy tees whizzing by in the sunshine – uniforms getting them acquainted with conforming early.
I recognized how the children played, how these groupings don’t change much as we become adults:
Two children jumping on a fallen tree branch watching the leaves dance as they balanced on the limb.
A couple of “explorers on the open sea” with little hands curled around curious eyes, their telescope for a better view of what’s on the horizon.
I passed a group of girls with baseball mitts, playing catch. In the open field behind them, dodgeball – beet red and sweaty faces running around. Learning how to win.
How to lose.
And then I saw the little girl all alone (with the exception of her book).
She paced between the limb bouncers and sea explorers. A safe distance on the outskirts yet within ear shot. I knew her completely as she clung tightly to the world under her arm, hesitant about the one in front of her.
There. But not entirely.
She saw me as I passed by so I smiled, trying to send comfort through the world’s between us.
I imagine that to her, I looked like an adult smiling back. How badly I wanted to tell her that pacing between concrete places is not a weakness. Please don’t let the world make you feel small for that. That book, love, keep holding it tight.
Then I wanted to tell her,
when you inevitably begin to stand out for being an individual, KEEP. STANDING. TALL.
It is there you will find – you.
Because the day will come when you’re the woman walking by a park, seeing a past version of yourself between worlds, and you’ll hope the same for her as I did for you;
That she soon discovers HER WORLD is the most beautiful place to be.