Three years ago, I dragged Ella to a skate park. If she’d been able to move her legs, she would have been kicking and screaming. As it was, she went under extreme protest.
“I don’t want to do this,” she huffed. “I’m not this girl.”
“You could be,” I told her. “You might like it if you give it a try.”
“I’m not a skater girl. I’m a ballerina.” She stated with absolute certainty.
It took three times down a baby ramp for her to concede that skating in a wheelchair wasn’t the worst thing she’d ever done. Three years later, she flew down quarter pipes, carved corners, and sassed her way onto the podium to win the WCMX Women’s World Championship.
Three years is a long time when you’re twelve, but Ella hasn’t forgotten that horrible first car ride. When the media asked her if she’d like to give a shout-out to anyone watching at home, she shook her head and told them “The only person who deserves a shout-out is here. It’s my mom. If it wasn’t for her bringing me, I wouldn’t be here at all.” Then she glided over to me, wrapped her arms around my middle, and laying her head against my side whispered “Thanks, Mom.”
And then the 2017 WCMX Women’s World Champion let her mother drive her home.
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