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Simply Maya

'If you think you can, you can'

Maya Hand

(May, 2010) At school each week, there is a different phrase on the board in Ms. Warthen's classroom. I'm always looking forward to seeing what the next phrase will be. One week it was ''If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, think again.'' And that's exactly correct. Be determined to try your best in everything you do. If you want to do something, all you have to do is believe in yourself and really put your mind to it. Well, you couldn't necessarily grow wings and fly like a swan, but you could use or make a flying contraption.

Talking about flying, have you ever thought you could fly? Once when I was younger I did. Well, sort of. I was standing on our guest bed. I was going to try to jump from there to the wooden chest touching the wall. I ended up crashing to the floor in no time. Then Mom walked in. ''What happened?'' she asked, giggling at the same time.

Sometimes, I'll think about something funny that's happened in the past. Then, I can't hold it in any longer, and I burst out laughing! Actually, right now I'm laughing. The only two people downstairs sitting at the kitchen table are me and my sister. She's drawing, I'm typing. A few minutes ago, whatever I said, whatever move I'd make, she'd open her mouth really wide... and start clapping. Then we'd both start laughing. I love my little sister. Sometimes she can be a bit of a goofball. She told me to include in this that her name is Ana, and she's seven, "not little". But she'll always be little to me.

I have a story for you about determination. First, let me give you some background about a special trip with my family, where my story takes place. Once, I went to Mexico with my family for my Mi-mi's birthday. We did a lot of fun things and learned a lot in Mexico. Mom went swimming with the dolphins. She had always wanted to swim with the dolphins and now was her chance. Before the dolphins, while we were waiting, Daddy, Nathaniel, Ana, and I kept spotting iguanas blending in with the rocks as they lay in the sun. Afterwards, Mi-mi and I went out to a gift store and I picked out a dolphin pin for Mommy.

The hotel we stayed in had one smaller pool and one bigger pool. Over the bigger pool was a small bridge which lead to a buffet. Ana and I went over to that pool several times to get virgin (no alcohol) strawberry daiquiris. We had never had them before, but they tasted so good and we drank so many that we almost turned into strawberry daiquiris!

We went to the beach, of course, and there was a nice man working on the beach who kept collecting rare seashells and giving them to me for my collection. One day we were at a restaurant. They had soft serve and I had never had it before. As I was skipping and holding my bowl, going over to get my soft serve, there was a man who was working there. He looked at me and then started skipping in place smiling at me. I giggled and then kept on going while Daddy talked to the man. Most people around us came from Mexico but spoke English AND Spanish. A lot of people in Mexico seemed very kind. They helped my trip to be more enjoyable and memorable. There are good people all over the world. Sometimes we just don't notice.

Ok, there's something I haven't told you. You know swimming? You know, moving, in water? Well, of course you know swimming. Anyway, I'm sort of nervous to tell you what I'm about to tell you, but... I can't. That's right. I can't swim. Well, sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. What I mean is... I'm afraid to stick my head underwater. Well, you remember when I told you about the strawberry daiquiris at the pool? If you swam across the pool there was a bar on the other side with little stool-like things sticking out of the water covered with blue mosaic for people to sit on. That pool was deep. It came up to my neck when I was on my tippy toes. Ana's feet couldn't even touch the bottom! But she is a great swimmer.

I was scared to cross that pool, terrified my head would go underwater. It seemed so big and deep but I wanted so much to sit there and drink strawberry daiquiris with my sister. I was afraid, but I was determined to try. Ana offered to help me, be my support, hold my hand the whole way. So finally I walked very slowly on my tippy toes as she swam with me holding her hand. My mom and dad watched, and they said it took us almost twenty minutes to cross the pool. When we got there we celebrated together with our strawberry daiquiris. We did it all with team work.

Ana loves swimming. She will dive off the diving board. She will dive off the side of the pool. She will purposely, without being asked, stick her head under water. You can give her any challenge in the water. Trust me, she'll pass it! Someday I hope that I'll be able to swim like her. And someday, I will. Because I think I can and I know I can. My sister and I worked together and reached our goal. Remember, "If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, think again," especially when it comes to using teamwork. When you work together, you can do things even better and you can make a bigger difference in your own life or even in someone else's.

Read other articles by Maya Hand