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She is . . . extra.

She just is.

All the time she is extra sad, and then extra “OMG, Mom-that-was-so-epic-let-me-tell-you-everything.”

Extra energetic, then extra I’m too tired to help with any family chores.

Extra hungry, then extra refuses to eat the food she just asked for because she’s full.

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Extra loves to show how much knowledge she has, then extra doesn’t want to do her homework because she’s too busy “being.”

Extra defiant, then extra brings home adorable “I love you, Mom” art from school.

There is no middle ground with this kid.

And really, there never has been.

Sometimes that makes others label her “difficult”—and if we’re being honest—labeled that way in our house, too.

But as I watch her continue to lean into who she is, I find myself more frequently stopping to admire her gift.

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Because no one ever has to guess what’s going on in her mind and heart. She expresses herself without fear of judgment and owns all parts of her expression. If she’s feeling sad or frustrated, and someone seems annoyed by it—she will call them out and remind them she’s allowed to have feelings.

There is no people-pleasing.

No conforming.

No adjusting who she is based on who’s in the room.

(And, gosh, could we all learn from that.)

So while her “extra” can be hard to parent at times, I forever remain committed to never making her be less . . . because I know the world is already pointing the remote control her way and waiting to press “volume down.”

RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine

So today?

I bite my tongue and take multiple deep breaths when I catch myself about to do the same thing, and instead create the space to let her figure out how to be her extra self.

And I find ways to show her how she can use that passion to make a positive impact and embrace that authenticity to inspire others to do the same and channel that grit into the important things.

Girlfriend is extra.

And I pray no attempt to slow her down is ever enough.

Because the world needs more people like her.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

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Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.

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