It was Sports Day. Not for the bigger two, but for the little one. The one that just turned three. Nerves filled my lungs as I tried to dress her appropriately. My heart sunk a little when she picked out a frilly top and skirt, with sparkling shoes to match. I steeled myself for the tantrum when I refused point blank to let her dress as she wished; instead, I opted for a more sporting look. Leggings, white collared t-shirt, plain socks, Peppa Pig trainers, and sweat bands. She threw the sweat bands at me, point blank refusing to wear them. I figured she would learn when the first bead of sweat hit her in the eyes during her initial race.
We take Sports Day very seriously in this house.
I resisted speaking to the preschool teacher beforehand about BB’s clear disadvantage, she only learnt how to run eight weeks ago. He who helped create them made me promise not to say anything about hip dislocations meaning she should start 50 yards in front. We decided, as a family, that she should take her place on the line, amongst her peers. No exception would be made for my limping girl.
I have to be honest; I didn’t have much faith in her bringing home a medal. Still, I steeled myself with the ‘mummy smile’ and practised the lie; it is just taking part that counts, in front of the mirror until I almost believed it.
We left the house and drove the short distance to preschool. We normally walk but I didn’t want to disadvantage her in any way, so I tried to keep her immobile until the start.
I feel I need to gloss over the fact that during the first race tears filled my eyes when I saw BB run, really run, towards the finish line. This time last year, she had not mastered walking, the legacy of hip surgery still very fresh in our minds. Sports Day normally brings out a small bit of competitiveness in me. So I was as surprised as you when I found myself sobbing into my hankie as my daughter came last in the running race. For the first time ever I didn’t care about her place, I was just so bloody happy to see her running.
After the first race, I had a quiet word with myself in the ridiculously small preschool loos. I banished over emotional mum and brought back the Sports Day parent.
Egg and Spoon came and went, we didn’t get a medal. I tried to raise a steward’s enquiry into why the winner was not disqualified when she clearly held her egg the entire way. It would seem steward’s enquiries are not applicable at preschool level. Had I known this before I would have superglued BB’s egg to the spoon, she spent the vast majority of the race chasing it round the grass, chuckling gently to herself.
Then it was time for the backwards race.
They called for the under three’s to line up at the start, I watched with a smile twitching at my lips as BB joined the group. In normal circumstances I would have reminded her that she was three already. But, after the debacle with the egg and spoon I decided to let it go.
Ready, steady, go.
BB set off at a backwards pace that any child would be proud off. Not twisting her head like her opponents, she walked steadily and with purpose, backwards towards the finish line. My heart started to beat faster, she was breaking away, and she was in the lead. As I stared, hands wrapped together in hope, teeth biting my lips, I started to shout ‘c’mon BB, c’mon.’ This did create a few odd looks from the other parents, but, I figured at least they were getting a taste of life at Sports Day in big school.
She carried on, the line getting closer, the other kids falling away.
Then it happened.
The little girl in second place started to veer slightly left, she looked like she was going to walk backwards right off the track. In my world, this would be instant disqualification. In preschool world, it seems it gives her mother the chance to step in.
Her mum grabbed her hand and steered her on course, then she stayed on the track and pulled her daughter towards the line with speed that both impressed and mortified me. The mother and daughter team were catching BB. I leapt to my feet, determined to run on to the field and pull my own daughter through the finish line. I just about managed to stop myself when I realised it probably would not earn me any friends.
So I watched. BB strode on confidently, mother and daughter half ran, half stumbled. I yelled words of encouragement, the chap next to me stared open mouthed in my direction.
Then they all crossed the line, from my view, BB was a hair in front, but it was too close to call.
Apparently they don’t do photo finish at preschool either.
BB and I decided to take it as a win. I quickly updated all social media channels to tell the world we had stolen Gold at Sports Day.
I think I need to take Valium before I watch the twins this year.