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One chilly December morning, a few days after Christmas, I opened my front door to load my beast of a black lab into my Prius to hit the hills and head out for a hike.

Almost immediately, I spotted a lovely family, out on a walk in the brisk air. Grandma was leading, her silver hair shining like a beacon for the rest to follow in suit. Right behind was dad, and then a very pregnant Mama. Finally, came the caboose. A little cutie who couldn’t have been more than 3 years old, red rain boots shining in the sun, mousey brown hair flailed askew without rhyme or reason. She was simply adorable.

Now Grandma confidently set the pace not too fast or slow, so that the group would indeed finish the intended walk.

But as toddlers often do, Lola (as I later found out her name) was filled with curiosity and stopped to investigate the community water bowl for dogs that sits propped outside our front gate.

I asked, “Would you like to pet my dog, Bo?” and just as surely as I said his name, he bounded towards her, snorting with excitement.

But to a 3 foot preschooler, Bo’s anticipation translated into: “Now I will eat you,” to which Lola promptly hollered, “NO!!!” running behind her mom’s leg to take refuge.

Mama patted her expanding belly, Dad laughed through his mask, and Grandma smiled taking in this sight, happy for the pause.

As I bid them adieu, and proceeded to get into my car, that’s when it happened.

You see, the little cutie had broken free from her parents, to run directly to the basketball hoop located on our driveway.

“No Lola, NO!” they yelled in unison.

In her chubby hands she gripped a lemon that had collected in the base of the hoop, which was marinating in rainwater. To Lola, this was GOLD. She picked it up and immediately put it to her mouth, licking it. PERFECTION.

As her parents stood mortified, I silently cheered for Lola. She broke out of the normal construct, and took what she wanted: rotten fruit.

Her mom apologized, “I’m so sorry. She does this every time we pass your house.”

I laughed as I witnessed this scenario. And then I whispered, “Keep shining on my little 3 year old friend. Keep grabbing for what you want. And most importantly, don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.”

May we all find the Lola within us and use it as a force for good in 2022.


Lola & Michelle

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