You Made Me Brave

As always, I’m slow to report. But as I recognised the peace of achieving a good day for my baby girl and me, I felt like it needed to go somewhere for posterity, before it was lost in the sea of omnipresent stress and doubting my own capailities as a mum.

Because I know I’m a good mum. I heard it said once that mums who aren’t giving their heart, souls and dare I say sanity to this don’t normally have the self awareness to question if they’re a good mum. Only a good mum wonders if she is good enough. Normally, it’s a personal source of torture for me. I can’t say it serves me well. My anxiety around parenting is sizeable and often palpable. But it only exists because I care so much, because it is everything to me to know my finite energy is going into raising my girls right.

On Thursday, I gave myself one task and one task only. This is unheard of for me, the weekly planner on our fridge often crammed full just so I remember to do things as simple as washing laundry or to pay dinner money. But we got Squidge to school, went home and packed our swimming bag.

Gabster is loving travelling on her trike. It can be hard to balance up kerbs when this CP mummy has little balance of her own to support us both, but if I commit to taking my time, it works out well for everyone.

So I took my almost 2 year old swimming on my own. She listened when I told her to walk slowly and not to run on the wet poolside.

It made me think of Squidge, who was a whole 6 months older than her sister when I felt brave enough to take her swimming for the first time. She was just as responsive and helpful. That memory has stayed with me. Clearly, what awesome understanding girls I must have raised to find myself feeling capable in the hardest, slippiest of situations for a mobility impaired parent. How my beautiful Squidgelet had instilled in me such a sense of success.

Because of the bravery my once 2-but-now-almost-6 year old drew out of me, I was blessed to not worry when Gabster demanded roughly 1,987,435 times that I lift her up on to the poolside with the intention of climbing back down the stairs into the water whilst she held the handrail diligently or because she simply wanted to slide off the side back into the pool. Completely fearless, just like her big sister. She just wanted to feel herself splash and to laugh unashamedly about it. And I got to hear every last giggle. How precious is that?

She didn’t care when it was time to go. In fact, she recognises the word “Go” so well that when I gave her her 5 minute warning, she heard the word and rushed up the steps shouting “Goooo!” and I had to coax her to jump back in.

She didn’t care that her wobbly mummy took her into the disabled changing room so I could shower and keep an eye on her. It was far more important to be able to watch Paw Patrol on my phone.

We took Squidge to the same pool for her weekly swimming lessons the next day. Gabster was happily shrieking about the “bubbles!”. I think she’ll be deliriously happy when she realises I plan to take her back again on Tuesday. Because just being with her – and feeling confident enough to do this alone – is such a huge gift from her beloved big sister.

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