We didn’t mean to raise a mutton bustin’, mountain climbing, trail riding girl. Her first words were mama and dada just like any other little girl. And just like any other little girl, she went through the tutu wearing, princess dress-up phase. But it didn’t seem to last as long as the other girls. Even when we did manage to get a dress or tutu on her at four and five, walking out the door in cowboy boots or her favorite pair of tennis changed the whole look and I wondered why we even tried. Now, at eight, she hardly ever wears a dress unless she can climb a tree in it. We live in Colorado. It’s the greatest state. She loves telling people that she’s a “Native”, the bumper stickers that are so popular around here. A couple years ago, my husband really got into climbing 14’rs (our state treasure). That first summer was spent getting friends to spend their days on these long treks. One day my daughter asked when she’d be able to tag along. At just six years old, I thought my husband would quickly veto the idea. Instead, he thought about it for a minute and said, “let’s go this weekend”. Sure enough, that weekend my husband, eight-year old son, and six-year old daughter packed snacks and filled camelbacks. They talked about the challenges of climbing at altitude and how long they would be gone. I waved them off from the front porch. That night, my daughter beamed as she related the story of climbing her first 14’er. She gave me a play by play of every trail, rock, and the view from the top. Her smile told me everything I needed to know, this wasn’t her last. We didn’t mean to raise a daughter that prefers bug hunting and rock collecting to dolls. But every day we thank our lucky stars for her. Because our daughter is mighty. No task is too daunting, no situation too intimidating. She is fearless. She does not and will never know that there are things in the world she cannot do, there aren’t. Whether climbing a mountain, riding a sheep, or walking a rocky trail, she stands tall, head held high, and does it all.
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