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Mia and Maura

Seth Rolbein
Mia and Maura

When Governor Maura Healey showed up at the Family Table Collaborative in South Yarmouth just before her inauguration to demonstrate that she understands how serious food insecurity is in wealthy Massachusetts – and that Cape Cod is part of the Commonwealth – Mia Lima pitched in packaging lasagna to go.

Mia came here from Haiti when she was 10 years old, half her lifetime ago. I call her my daughter because that’s how I think of her and her sister, who came to live with us at the same time. They hail from a village called Matenwa where believe me, people understand what food insecurity means.

I first met Maura soon after Mia arrived, 2013 or early 2014, that being a total coincidence. Healey was running for attorney general. I joined then-Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf as his chief of staff to convene at an Irish watering hole near the State House.

Four of us sat around a small table, talking a big circle around policy, priorities, personalities, politics. When we parted Dan turned to me and said, “I have to support her.”

I answered, “Of course you do,” and he became the first Senator to do so.

In the years since, Maura always is gracious enough to recognize me, say a kind word, but we are in no way close. I am one of many people Governor Healey sees now and then, nothing deeper than that.

Even so, I had an ulterior motive introducing her to Mia: I wanted to take a picture of them together.

You see, Mia is short. For all her amazing accomplishments in the last 10 years, the only way she hasn’t grown in leaps and bounds is height. She is beautiful, perfect, but remains just a little over five feet, and there have been times when she bemoans that, wishes she were statuesque, thinks that being short might be an inhibition or barrier.

I didn’t say anything about Governor Healey’s height. I did mention that Maura had been captain and point guard for Harvard University’s women’s basketball team before becoming an attorney, attorney general, and now governor.

Nor did I say anything about other similarities they share; neither born of privilege, both facing family challenges early in life, each in her own way having come so far and accomplished so much by dint of intelligence and hard work.

The introduction was made, the new governor welcomed a photo. I did the honors. And what I hoped for turned out to be true:

They’re the same height.

Among many reasons why Maura Healey might be inspirational, physical stature is not high on the list, not an accomplishment or decision.

But it is part of her example, and surely made one wonderful young woman smile and feel a little more comfortable in this big old world.