Sterling Mei Shepherd holding Scorpion at the Olivia Pool near sunset. Fearless. Bold. Preparing to strike this world. Almost eleven years old, but fiercely wanting to be eighteen. She is my youngest and God was wise to send her to me last. This one is freaking nuclear. The way she attacks life, she is Genghis Khan, taking no prisoners, unapologetic, and she loves more than anything... beating boys at their own sports. You should see her throw a spiral football. It is quite shocking. I've never seen a football thrown with such intensity. I've always told my kids that they have nothing to prove to this world, but she wholly rejects that. She is out to prove everything.
This child is the one who challenges me. On everything. She makes me rethink my philosophy on life. In the past, I saw her as a problem child. Recently... I have been enlightened to understand that THIS ONE is created and placed in my life... for such a time as this. I am learning so much from this little fission reaction. Explosive as the sun that silhouettes her perfect picture.
Today she was determined to walk on her hands from one end of the pool to the other. This is a feat that she has accomplished already... multiple times. But today... it was difficult. Hmmm... not sure why. Last evening we feasted on popcorn and Texas Roadhouse. We'd gone to the cinema and watched Jungle Cruise. Maybe her little powerhouse body was still recovering from our revelry?
Nonetheless... she was absolutely hell-bent on completing again that hand-stand walk from one end to the other of the pool. She'd stand on the concrete on the pool edge, flip down to her hands with her feet in the air, abdominal muscles tightened, and begin her trek, hand to the ground, moving forward. Her efforts today were failing. She'd fall to the side or roll forward, landing on her feet... never truly falling.
I watched her silently... collapsed on the concrete. She lost her balance again. She literally sat with her hands holding her head. She looked at me and said, "Dad, this is so frustrating. I know that I can do this. Why do I keep falling?"
I am father. I am sage. I have wisdom, Ya... right, I had nothing intelligent to say in that moment. I paused. I gave the moment some space.
She looked at me and said, "I'm going to try again. I nodded and and smiled. "You can do it."
She walked back down to the far side of the pool. Her eyes met mine and we exchanged a smile. Her face then shifted... there is the warrior. I see her. That is the one that can conquer the world. She bent down, landing on her hands... feet to the sky, abs taunt, and began her forward movement.
Hand over hand. She'd move forward four or five feet, and then balance check. Sometimes she'd have to move backwards a bit as her feet balance checked or her weight shifted. But she fought. She continued to move forward. I literally held my breath. This was a battle. My daughter was fighting for progress. Each foot gained was like watching confidence grow.
She crossed the line that marked the end of the pool. She cleared the mark... and collapsed across the finish line!
In a heap on the concrete, her eyes met my smile. I was sitting up on my chase lounge, my hands were giving applause! She did it!
She said to me... "Well, Dad... I made it, just barely." Her eyes were downcast. But I felt a giant smile erupt over my face as I spoke the words that won the day...
"Sterling! That was SO AMAZING. Sometimes "just barely is absolutely perfect!" It was like watching a movie... right at that last impossible moment... the hero did just enough... to do the impossible!
This is definitive of my girl. My Sterling Mei. She has what it takes to shock the world, to save the day, to make everything right. Sometimes... just barely, is absolutely perfect.
" And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" -Esther 4:14b.
Sterling... there will be a day, sometime that I cannot yet see in the future... that you read these words from me. I do not know why they will be perfectly what you need in this time... but I do know that they are perfectly stated. Whatever you're facing at this point... you have what you need. Stand firm. Draw strength from you faith and from your story. It is no mistake. You are created for this time and this space. Kick ass, child. Be bold. Hold to your faith and do it. -Dad.