Paper Airplane Wish
She stood in front of me after our reading lesson today, this lovely sandy-haired fourth grader with smiling brown eyes and a mouth full of braces. I placed the pile of papers on my desk I had just collected and gave her my full attention.
"I wanted to show this to you." She revealed a large book she had been holding tight against her chest as if it were her most prized possession, and she held it in front of my face so I couldn't miss it. "My mom gave it to me for my birthday, and I'm going to read it during independent reading time."
She proceeded to open the pages and turn it toward me so I could leaf through the pages. I was overcome by the beauty of the pictures of girls, all shapes, sizes, interests, and backgrounds along with and the quotes or short passages to accompany each of them.
I held the book's binding in the crest of my left hand so I could gently turn the pages with my right hand. She stood patiently, grinning while I paged through her book. I was spellbound. I thought about the blessing it is for a girl to have a mom who puts a book such as this in her daughter's hands -- a mom who wants her daughter to be sure of herself and strong.
"So whaddaya think?" She was studying my face.
"I think, my dear girl, that as you read this today you know how unique and beautiful you already are, and I hope as you read you dream and explore the possibilities of who you can be in this world.
"I have a journal to match! Hold on. I'll get it." She returned with a smaller book that matched the first and guided me through it so I could see her entries which even included a song she had written. For a moment I wanted to be ten again and have someone put this journal in my hands.
As I paged through the journal, my attention was caught by a page with on which two girls climb a tree. The prompt reads, "Climb a tree. Make a paper airplane with a wish inside, and send it flying."
"Oh, I love this!" I thought to myself. I explained, "I love trees, I've always loved trees, and as a little girl, I climbed many. I wish I could climb one today." I didn't add that climbing a tree at this point in my life would probably land me in the hospital, so I guess I'll have to stick to writing this wish on a paper airplane.
I wish for every girl, everywhere, to recognize her deep inner strength is her truest beauty.