Isabel and I walking on Copacabana beach
As my trip comes to a close I've been editing tons of photos and reflecting on the days I've spent in this wonderful country, and keep coming back to the photo shown above. I've seen and done so much, way more than my previous visits — but what I've enjoyed most is spending time with my little cousin Isabel.
Isabel is the sweetest, most generous, happiest, smartest, silliest, most confident, wisest, cutest, and stylish little ten year-old girl I know. I love her to death! She was only two when I saw her last, and I fell in love with her then because all she did was smile. Now as she is beginning her early prepubescent years I can see her curiosity growing, and her identity blossoming. She is like any other young girl anywhere in the world — questioning her beauty, showing interest in boys, loving to dance in the living room, experimenting with make-up and hanging out with her girlfriends. Despite her amazing sense of confidence (you know how girls exude confidence at this age) she's a little shy when put on the spot, but she's in that pocket of space where she knows what she wants and who she wants to be. Being here to see that in her means so much to me.
I want her to hold on to that. I wish all little girls could. It's hard though, because the pressures of being a teenager comes and something changes. My wish for her, and all the little ladies out there, is to hold on to that beautiful sense of power, and that glorious sparkle that makes her shine. All I can do is tell her I love her and remind her that she is amazing, and know that she'll continue to light up the world like so many of us do.