Don’t let her little size fool you. This weekend she paddled out to the outside with the big girls and competed in the 11yo and under division at a surf contest. She placed 3rd!!! It was her first time to paddle out in a contest without a parent in the water with her. The plan was that she would surf on the inside so we could get to her if she needed help. Apparently she had other plans. They all paddled out together, and instead of hanging on the inside break closer to shore, she kept going. I honestly wigged out and got in the water and tried to swim to her, calling her name and trying to get her to come back. It was super unnerving for me, especially since there were larger waves on the outside and if something happened I could not get to her! Everyone was on the pier watching her and cheering her on as she paddled, and the photographer talked her through where the waves were breaking and told her how to ride the rip out right next to the pier. I heard people saying “Go little girl!!!!!”.
The other girls turned around and saw that she had made it out to the lineup and they were like “Mia, what are you doing out here??” She paddled over and settled in next to her friend, who is an amazing surfer and one of Mia’s BFF’s. I realized there was nothing I could do in the water and that there were 50 people on the pier who would be in the water in a heartbeat if she got in peril, so I and went back to the beach to watch.
A set came through and her friend told her to turn around and paddle for it. We all watched as she paddled hard, caught a wave, stood up and made the drop that looked to be at least head high on her as far as we could tell from the beach. She turned and rode that thing like she owned it. People were screaming, clapping and hooting for her on the pier and on the beach. It was awesome and I will never forget it. I know she won’t either.
Afterwards, we went to the awards ceremony and when they called out that she got 3rd place…competing against 11 year olds…we were so jazzed. She earned it for sure. I have never been more proud of that child. She is headstrong and determined and it will get her far in life, even if she gives her old mom a heart attack here and there.
Earlier that day she had found a shell as we were walking down the sand to the water for her heat. She was holding her surfboard and said “Mom, see that? Get it for me please”. It is a perfect little orange striped shell and I slipped it in my pocket. Later at the awards, I reached in and found it still there. I pulled it out and peered down at this tiny shell that came from so far away to end up in my palm. I look at my tiny little girl and see the same thing. She came to me from the mystery of creation and the depths of love and heavenly mercy. I decided that I would make a necklace out of it. When I put it on, I will remember that day and I may never take it off again.