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"Thank you for being there"

 
Sometimes being there for the small things means a lot to your kids.
By Cath Jenkin

Pic: Diane Cassells

Article originally in Parent24
I’m not the kind of mom who bakes for school sales. Time limits, work pressures and deadlines keep me out of the kitchen more than I would like but it’s the way life is. I am, however, a mom who tries her very best to be there for every important moment.

That’s not always possible though, and as I tangled with my to do list, I realised I’d not be able to make it to sports day. Until one of my dearest friends said, “There are exactly 12 sports days in her life, you should be there”. I can never thank her enough for that message.

As the annual sports day drew closer, I became a jumble of nerves. Knowing that my child has a good mix of her dad’s athletic genes and my severe lack of co-ordination, I was concerned she’d run fast enough but just backwards across the track. She’s blessed with long legs and an athletic gait that sometimes presents itself in awkward elbows and hilarious gaffes.

Being a parent is a funny thing though. You spend so much of your time mentally tussling with concepts only to find your child exceed your expectations having barely noticed your frown. Your mind races for days worrying that they’ll embarrass, hurt themselves or worse. As is usually the way with these things, my nerves dissolved as she jauntily finished her race in third position. Then she took her place on the podium in third position.

I’ve never stood on a podium before. My years of being forced to run races and come “bumbottom” have left me with a pervasive fear of having to do anything athletic. To have my progeny not only run her race without toppling over and then go on to claim her place on the podium, brought me to complete tears. I was “that mom”. You know the type – sobbing behind her sunglasses and applauding furiously - the one that embarrassingly whooped when they said her name. I was that mom, and I’ve never been prouder. She stood upon that podium twice that day, each time her smile widening and my heart exploding.

I overcame that fear of athleticism and ran the mommy’s race. With luck, pure determination and a relatively short track on my side, I managed to not come last. I could feel my daughter beaming from the stands, whilst I attempted to not faint when finished. My boyfriend ran the dad’s race, injuring his foot in the process. He didn’t care about his injury, and nor did my child. In his words, “it’s worth it to see her smile”.

When we finally met up after the event, she looked up at us, grinned and said: “Thank you for being here”.

Do you feel guilty when you aren't able to make school functions?

 
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