Take this week, Katie went to her first ever summer camp day. It was a gymnastics camp run by her gymnastics club. It's from 10am until 3pm and we've talked about it for weeks and signed her up for three non-consecutive days. The first day was on Wednesday this week and was badge day so she could attempt her BAGA Badge 7.
The big day arrived and when we arrived, packed lunch in hand, we realised that she wouldn't be in her usual hall, which was a smaller hall with all the younger gymnasts, camp was in the Big Hall. Katie whispered to me that she was a little scared because she wasn't used to the big hall. I squeezed her hand reassuringly and said that all the children would be together for camp.
We opened the double doors and there was a room full of at least 50 children and young people. There were a lot of early teens there and a handful of little ones like Katie. I immediately felt a lump in my throat. Katie stood close to me for a moment before we entered the hall and gave her name to the lady on the door. We went to the side of hall and put her lunch bag and rucksack on the floor and took off her shoes and socks and t-shirt, leaving her leggings on over her leotard "until she warmed up". I thought it might also help her feel a little less exposed. We looked around to see if there were any children from the small hall at the camp but Katie couldn't see anyone she knew. My heart sank. It's a big club but I had banked on there being some children she knew there at least. Would Katie cope OK? She's pretty sociable but was I expecting too much of her? She's only 5 years old! I started to worry that I shouldn't have encouraged her to come and that I shouldn't have been so selfish - part of the reason for the camp was to tire her out over the holidays and to also give me a day's break from entertaining two children.
The teachers called for everyone to sit on the mats for the register. I gave her a kiss and a big hug and Katie went and sat at the back on her own and I went back out through the double doors to peer in anxiously through the window. I thought to myself "If she can answer confidently when her name is called for the register then I can also feel confident". I watched and waited until her name was called.
Katie's voice rang out clearly.
I dared to breathe a little breath. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I fought not to sob in the hall way.
Katie then turned and caught my eye. She shooed me away with her fingers and mouthed:
I waved to her with a big smile on my face and walked away. Leaving my big brave girl on her own; fending for herself very well indeed. I went back to the car and had a little sob.
I then tried not to worry about her for the rest of the day. Pip and the kittens, that we are currently looking after, are a great distraction.
I arrived to pick her up at 2:45pm. I wanted to be early so I could watch again through the window and gauge by her body language how things had gone during the day. She was supposed to be doing her cool down exercises and was with a group of older girls, larking about and laughing with them. She looked happy and relaxed.
The teacher then asked all the gymnasts to line up along the red line whilst they announced all the children who had gained their badges that day. I held my breath. Had Katie managed to get Badge 7? She had been practising her crane balancing constantly but her lack of concentration was a key barrier to her execution of the move at times. The teacher called out Katie's name and she collected her slip. I beamed from ear to ear and just about stopped myself from punching the air!
Then the parents could come in and collect everyone. I hugged Katie and told her well done for getting her badge. She said sadly
"But Mummy I didn't get my badge, I only got this piece of paper."
I beamed at her again and told her that the piece of paper said that she had been awarded the badge. Mummy now needed to fill in the slip and they would bring the badge to her class. Katie's face lit up with a big smile.
"I concentrated really hard today Mummy" she said
What a star!!
The poor, tired out, little lamb had a swimming lesson an hour after her gymnastics day camp
I'm so proud of my little girl. She is so brave and confident even when she is a bit scared. I am proud of everything she has achieved and also at how much progress she has made over the past 3 years. I think the sky could be the limit for her if she wants to climb towards it.
This post has been linked up at #WASO at The Adoption Social. Head over and have a read of some of the other adoption blogs listed there......