Whilst Ella is our little author and would rather be sitting quietly with a book (though she does enjoy sport as well), Mimi is a bundle of energy and quite literally never stops moving. She’s always on the go, prefers to run rather than walk and usually has a ball of some kind with her to kick or throw along the way. It doesn’t matter how much energy she expends, she always seems to have more.
Every July the older half of the girls’ school (Years 3, 4, 5 and 6) takes part in the District Athletics Competition. Each school in the area holds internal tryouts and those who get selected (and who want to take part) get to go to Rowley Park Athletics Stadium and compete against pupils in their year group from other schools. Last year Ella took part and the girls and I went along to watch and support her and her teammates – it was the hottest day of the year and we had a brilliant time.
This year was the first year Mimi was able to try out and she was thrilled to be chosen to represent the school in the ball-throwing competition and the team relay. Ella tried out as well but didn’t get through this time and she was devastated. She’s very much like me in that she wants to be good at everything, so when she comes up against something she doesn’t excel at she takes it very personally. It’s led to a LOT of conversations about celebrating our differences, developing our skills and talents in the things we really, really love to do rather than trying to be good at everything and being proud and happy for the people we love when they find their ‘thing’ and want to do everything they can to follow it.
The competition took part last Wednesday and the school had messed up a bit by not actually letting us parents know when it was happening until the Friday before. I normally work in London all day on a Wednesday and Mimi was so disappointed when she thought I wasn’t going to be able to watch. A few phonecalls and emails later plus lots of finger-crossing and hoping resulted in my lovely clients being flexible enough to move their sessions to another week or choose to have them online instead so I could work from home and be there to support Mimi – sending out a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped me out on this one, I really appreciate it and you made an eight year old girl very, very happy.
It was the perfect day weather-wise, dry and slightly overcast, warm but not too hot. After the usual mad rush when we got home from school we headed over to the venue and joined Mimi and Ella’s classmates on the sidelines. Race after race after race came and went, the cheers rang out through the stadium and our hands got sore from clapping so hard. The team-spirit and encouragement was incredible to watch and it’s a testament to the school for creating such a supportive and positive ethos amongst the pupils. There were high-fives galore and pats on the back and proud grins and celebratory hugs. Mimi came third in the ball-throwing competition and her team came second overall in the relay after she ran her socks off in her leg of the race. She got to stand on the podium both times and she received certificates that are now displayed on our fridge for all to see.
The little video above shows Mimi and her team-mates on the podium after coming second in the relay race. Mimi is the furthest on the left of the group of girls in red. (Also, apologies for the poor quality – it was taken on my phone and zoomed in a lot! Note to self: invest in a Go-Pro!)
It’s so wonderful to see her feeling proud of herself. Being the middle child, without wanting to adhere to the cliché, is a challenge for her. Her big sister is incredibly bright in an academic way and her younger sister is the ‘baby’. We do our very best to treat all three girls exactly the same and we NEVER compare them to each other but I know that Mimi does compare herself to her sisters and in her eyes she falls short. In reality, she absolutely doesn’t – she is just as bright as Ella in a completely different way and I have no doubt that her determination, tenacity and creative mindset will take her far. We love them all more than they will ever know.
For her to have found something that she’s good at and that she enjoys, something which she can do that Ella can’t (not quite in the same league anyway) has given her the confidence boost she’s been needing – we just didn’t know where to find it. I really hope that this is the first step on our journey to getting our happy little girl back.