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The power of being underestimated

Danielle Smith is a former award-winning television news anchor and reporter turned digital correspondent, host, spokesperson, media trainer, lover of all things video and public s

There is strength in being the smallest, because no one can see you coming.

I remember clearly her frustration the first year she hit the basketball court: "Mom... those girls were making fun of me because I'm small." Easily the smallest girl on her team, every team, my small girl doesn't have to be told she isn't winning awards for height. But she followed that statement with the determination I've come to recognize in my pint-sized (and extremely talented) athlete: "So, I had to show them; I might be small, but I'm fast... so I went around them and I scored."

And she did. More than once.

A year later, at four-foot-three she still qualifies as one of the tiniest players on her team. But she's also one of the hardest workers, has some quick hands, quick feet and oh yes... a little bit in the "hops" department.

Delaney has learned a life lesson young: There is power in being underestimated. There is strength in being the smallest, because no one can see you coming.

This freckle-faced child hears your doubts and she doubles down.

This child has more athletic ability in her right hand than I have ever had in my entire body. While I was afraid of the ball (who am I kidding... I still am), she wants you to throw it to her every single time.

She shoots a basketball, throws a softball and hits a volleyball the way my nine-year-old self only ever did in her dreams. But that doesn't mean she has stopped asking me if she will get taller, or rather when she will get taller; she simply assumes that it will happen in that far-off land of someday.

As her mom, I walk the line between helping her to embrace every ounce of who she is at this very moment and teaching her all of the ways she can nurture health and growth in her body. She has the exercise down pat, clearly. It just might be impossible for me to catch her in that department. But for a child who would choose chocolate as her food group of choice all day, every day, it is important that I help her to make the choices that will nurture her body when it decides to grow, with both food and drinks.

Since she plays on multiple teams year-round, I'm often up early on a weekend packing snacks for a day; anything to keep us from vending machines and the unhealthy draw of concession stands. This includes oranges, granola bars, trail mix and our newest love: Mott's juice drinks (Delaney loves Grape Surge and my small dude, Cooper, grabs the Fruit Punch Rush). They come in family sizes, but the 8-ounce size is naturally easy to toss in any sport bag for a day's worth of games. My small people love the flavors and I'm happy that they have no artificial sweeteners. We are grateful to Mott's for the introduction to their latest line.

How do you help your small people to navigate life lessons like these... to embrace what makes them different, and, often, stronger? I'd love to know.

I'm grateful to Mott's for sharing their new line of juice drinks with us. This conversation is sponsored, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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