Cartwheels in the Target maternity section
Cartwheels in the Target maternity section

Cartwheels in the Target maternity section

Your life can be impacted by anyone at any moment and anywhere.

Even by a little girl on a Thursday evening in the maternity section at Target.

I met my cousin and her kids and my aunt and uncle for dinner last Thursday, and my trusty Google Maps told me it would take anywhere from one to two hours to get there after work, so I left two hours before we were meeting just to be safe. It ended up only taking a little more than an hour, so I had some time to kill.

Naturally, I went to the nearest Target.

I was looking around and seeing a bunch of things I probably don’t need, and then I saw a precious little girl dancing around and talking nonstop as her pregnant mom looked for some new maternity clothes. (To be clear, I was not shopping in the maternity section. The clearance rack was mixed in the same area. I’ll be honest, though: I have accidentally purchased maternity clothes in the past when they were on the same clearance rack as the nonpreggo clothes. Oopsies.)

The little girl pranced over my way and asked me my name and told me hers is Avery. After our introductions, she informed me that my hair is red—kid knows her colors. Then she told me she can do a cartwheel and asked me if I wanted to see it.

I mean, is that even a question?

She raised both hands in the air, and right before she showed off her gymnastics skills, she looked at me and said, “Make sure you’re watching. I’m really good.”

It was one of the worst cartwheels I’ve ever seen.

But it was also one of the best. Even though I didn’t think it looked so great (I’m no gymnast, but this looked more like putting your hands on the ground and attempting a roundhouse kick with both feet), Avery truly believes in herself, and that confidence made that cartwheel so much more respectable.

Then she instructed me that it was my turn. At this point, her mom intervened and told me I certainly didn’t need to listen to her daughter, but I felt a cartwheel was necessary in that moment. I’m pretty sure I’ve never completed a straight cartwheel in my life (plus, there is not a lot of space in the clothing section for a cartwheel, so the challenge was magnified), but when I finished, sweet little Avery exclaimed, “Wow! That was so good!”

Bless her heart.

Even though I don’t know that Avery’s judge of talent is very accurate, I appreciated her innocent affirmation. I think we need that every once in a while—people telling us that we’re doing well. Life can kick our tails sometimes, and I think people like Avery step into our lives at just the right moments to remind us that we can do the things we don’t always believe we can do.

I might not be a rock star, but maybe one day I’ll take over the stage.

We (hopefully) all have goals and dreams we’re chasing, but sometimes it takes others believing in us to help us more fully believe in ourselves. I remember years ago when I was growing up, I wanted to be so much like my older brother, and I wanted him to be proud of me. I was bragging to him about how high I could jump, and he gave me a challenge: He taped a dollar bill way up out of my reach and told me to jump up and grab it. I jumped and came up short. I tried again and failed again. I can’t remember exactly how long I kept jumping for that thing, but I do remember I legitimately started sweating. I also remember reaching a point when I was so tired and frustrated that I wanted to quit. The whole ordeal was beginning to seem impossible. But I thought about my brother and the fact that I thought he really believed I could get it. I told myself that he believed in me—he believed I could reach that dollar. And that helped me believe it, too.

I got the dollar—and I framed it.

Avery reminded me of the importance of believing in others and believing in ourselves. I’ve been a little discouraged lately because of all of my kidney troubles and not being able to run as far or as fast, and I often worry that I’ll never race again like I used to. But I have to believe it’s possible.

I think we all have strengths within us that we don’t always know we have. Sometimes we have to find those strengths on our own, and other times we need people to remind us that those strengths are there.

Either way, you might discover you’re capable of a lot more than you thought you are.


  1. Stefanie

    Your story of doing a cartwheel in the cloths section makes me smile. Sometimes you just have to be like a child and have a little fun no matter where you are.

    Your words are encouraging. You are doing your best and will get to where you need to be. Setbacks will only make you stronger and make you realize how badly you want something. Once you get to that point, your heart takes over.

    I believe in you. Keep pushing forward. Keep pushing through the struggle and don’t give up.

  2. Vicki Gore

    Natalie, You amaze me! Every week you write something that is inspiring and encouraging and clearly, from your heart. You see others like, I believe, God intended us to see others. You see the beauty in everyone. I hope I can grow up to be more like you. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. You are such an angel!

  3. A

    Hi Natalie, your blog is so interesting to me as i’m in the second half of my 20s and haven’t kissed anyone yet. Needless to say, I also never dated but have been waiting for that ideal, romantic soulmate to come along some day. As a woman, I feel like I’m basically the only one left with no “experience” while my friends are in serious relationships, engaged, or married, and are so involved in those relationships that as friends we hardly spend time together. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not the only one, though.
    How did you first kiss happen, and any others since then?

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