It’s sports day on Friday. Lucy cannot contain her excitement! We’re not competitive here (it might have sthg to do with what she plans on wearing though!). We’ve had 7 primary school sports days with Amy where you willed her on but as her wee legs were so much shorter than everyone else, finishing was the goal. Her first sports day was a tear jerker. My p1/2 mummy friends (Amy was in a composite class) will remember.. it was the day my faith in humanity was clarified and I was sure we had picked the right school. Amy, at the end of p1 was wearing age 2-3, weighed significantly less and measured a lot smaller than children her age. The last race of sports day was a relay with a child from each year group in each team. They ran from p7 to p1. It was a scorcher of a day and Amy was freezing (her internal thermostat doesn’t work).. the children sat in rows eldest to youngest front to back and although I can’t remember who the children in her team were, I remember clearly what they did. One of them put a fleece jacket put round her shoulders and they took it in turns to keep her warm as she waited for her turn. When it got to her turn I could see she was purple with cold and her wee legs were dragging as she ‘ran’. She was by this stage the only child running as all the other teams had finished. Every child in the school cheered for her and one of team members was waiting with the coat as she collapsed at the finish. I’m crying writing this as I remember how proud I was of her but also of them. I ran round to scoop her up and take her to the closest car that was open to get her warmed up. That’s her spirit for you..
But yes, Lucy.. 3 times today I’ve been astounded by things she has said to me. I mean totally blown away. We should listen to children more and I mean really listen..
Lucy wants to come second at sports day. That’s her aim. I asked her why second.. in fact I think I said ‘or third? third’s good too..’.
‘Second’ she said, ‘because it’s almost first but more realistic’. Right..
I’ve struggled with setting the bar too high for many years. Not any more. Last week I contented myself that it’s not my job or responsibility to fix everything. And this week Lucy has shown me that my responsibility is to lead by example. Parenting girls is a huge responsibility for women. They model themselves on you. So we must care for ourselves the way that we want our daughters to care for themselves. We must do things we enjoy, spend time with friends, have interests and experiences without our children as well as with them so that as adults they know how to keep a bit back for themselves. I’m not advocating selfishness, I’m advocating healthy balance. If we give ourselves all away, then that’s what they’ll do.
So, second. I can see Lucy not feeling the need to please me (or feel she has to be the best). She’ll enjoy the healthy competition and she’ll try her best, but it doesn’t faze her at all what I think of what she does. I love that.
The second pearl of wisdom actually came this morning as I was brushing her (tatty) hair. I said I’d just pull it back into a Pony tail and that’d do, meaning I wasn’t going to hurt her getting all the tats out; that I’d just make it tidy enough. No she said, please don’t make it ‘just do’, please do it properly. She then said that it made her feel good when her hair was done properly.. and then the clincher… ‘mum, I’ve decided that when I go to high school (you’re 6?!)that I’m not going to have a really short skirt. I’ve decided it looks better closer to my knee and really fashion is wearing what you want to wear, no matter what other people think, but wearing it right’. Well. This is a shocker from my dallas cowboys cheerleader who is only happy with her skirt at trampy heights. I’ll remind her of this when she’s 12 but, really the wisdom behind the meaning of fashion just blew me away. Lucy has a sense of style second to none. It’s not that she has spectacular clothes; many of them are hand me downs..but she throws together the oddest combinations and makes it work, without giving a toss how it looks. Perhaps it’s the not giving a toss that makes it work?
I had a coffee with an old friend this morning. Old as in we’ve known each other for more than 25 years (!).. I really enjoyed that wee hour and it did my heart good. Kenny Rodgers is right-you can’t make old friends. I was listening to the Lisa Mchugh and Nathan Carter version of that song tonight on my way home from a beach walk with Lucy. She asked what ‘you can’t make old friends’ meant. I explained that the friends you’ve known for ages are the best kind of friends as they really know you. So she said ‘then why do they sound so sad about it?’ And she’s right! (Shocker). Do we make enough happy noise about and to our friends? Do we tell them they matter and do they know? We need to be able to tell the people in our lives how much they matter.. should that be a simple ‘thanks for being you’, ‘ I enjoyed spending time with you today’, or ‘you do me good’. Everyone needs to hear that. And some people need to hear it more than others. If people matter to you, let them know.
I love Lucy’s simplistic view of life. For 6 she has a surprisingly mature view on the big issues. But she also sees the joy in the little things. I took her to the beach tonight. She spun her arms round and said ‘mum isn’t this fantastic. We are so lucky’. Yes Lucy, we are. X