Day Ninety: The Bridge

Yesterday my daughter Masana had her "bridge" ceremony for the junior girl scouts.

For an event that she initially didn't want to attend, Masana was all smiles. In fact, she was beaming.

Ever since she was a toddler, Masana has always hovered on the periphery with hungry eyes. But whenever asked if she wanted to join in, her guard would go up and she acted aloof. Of course, this would frustrate me because I knew the truth: she's just painfully shy.

When she was 4 years old, she met a girl who was twice her size and four times her personality. She was Masana's first real friend, and they are still very close. I credit this not-so-little dynamo with helping my daughter cross her first bridge and giving her the confidence to make other friends. And when Masana was figuring out who she wanted to invite to her 9th birthday party, this particular friend was the first on her list. Masana crossed another bridge; she learned what it meant to be a loyal friend.

Bridges are everywhere in life, and watching my daughter last night cross this silly wooden one brought a tear to my eye. But not for the reasons that every other mother might have had in that room. Masana  didn't shrink under the weight of everyone's gaze or the clapping and whistling that filled the room. She learned to take pride in her accomplishment.

Masana may be a little suspicious of strangers, which I take comfort in. But is she still shy? Nah. After seeing her on that bridge, I am confident that she has completely outgrown that word.