My oldest, my friend, my sensitive soul and the human I want to be like when I grow up.

Mimi Pie is her nickname and I’m not sure how she got it. Occasionally we call her Pipps, Pipper Pants and Mimes too.
She’s 15 years old and she’s taken hold of her life with total commitment over the last two years. She pursued a school she wanted to attend and was accepted, she receives accolades in sport and academics in every term, and she has immersed herself into extracurricular groups and activities that she is passionate about.

I’m not sure how I got so lucky to have a human being in my life that teaches me every day how to be a genuinely, good human. She is pure goodness. She has empathy for how others feel, she can rise above even when she has been wronged, and she does not stand for things that are not right.

Mimi Pie proved how committed she was to her values when she made the difficult decision to quit horseback riding. She had been riding for about four years and had become quite the competitive little barrel racer and horsewoman. She came to me and said, “mom I don’t want to ride anymore,” and gently reminded me of a conversation that had taken place at the barn and how uncomfortable it had made her feel. I didn’t have to try to remember the conversation, I knew exactly what conversation she was talking about. It was clear that she no longer wanted to ride with her coach and she knew there was no one else where we lived that she wanted to learn from. I will never forget the disappointment I felt in her giving something up that she was so gifted at. But I also felt immense pride for her standing by her views on acceptance and inclusivity.

At the age of 13 Mimi Pie was prepared to give up something she loved to stay true to herself and I believe that this conviction is something she has learned as the sister of a child with special needs. There is no room in her world for hate, discrimination, disrespect for peoples’ differences or inequality. She made her case to me in a calm, mature and thoughtful way so I let her quit.

When one door closes, another one opens. From a young age, Mimi was always willing to give everything a try but was also very clear about what she did not want to do anymore. She would always finish a season or a class but was clear when she wanted to move on. When she was about 4 we signed her up for rugby and she could not have had that season end quick enough – she was miserable every time we took her. After saying goodbye to horseback riding and not making the basketball team, it was a bit shocking when she decided to try rugby again. None the less she fell in love with the game. As a grade 8 she became a starting forward on the Senior Girls Rugby Team and continued to be a starting forward for her grade 9 season in which they took home the Provincial Championship win. She continued into summer playing for Island Rep Teams and then making the Provincial BC Bears squad and competing in Westerns.

Despite all of her success she is incredibly humble and unassuming. As she begins her grade 10 year, I see her investment in worthy friendships and I’m in awe of how well she navigates her passions, her studies, her athletics, her social life and herself.

She has lived through some of my toughest moments with me, she has been a shoulder to cry on and she has hugged me and patted me on the back. She takes on responsibilities far beyond her years and does it with such grace and selflessness.

As I watch her grow, I feel this deep, burning excitement to see where her dreams take her. She isn’t really a dreamer, she’s more a planner/executer or goal setter but I can see that there are glimmers of hopes and dreams that she keeps to herself while laying the groundwork to reach her goals.

This kid made me a mom! She challenges me to be a better mom and she could not be a better big sister to the Beast and William – she has their backs!

Occasionally, she jokingly asks me if she’s my favourite and I always respond with, “yup…one of three favourites.” She smiles and giggles back at me.

~ Keely

Keely is an author and advocate for children living with disabilities. She lives on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia, with her husband, her son William who has cerebral palsy, her two daughters and several four-legged friends.