Dear Tallulah…

Dear Tallulah

Today was a bad day.

I knew last night when I put you to bed and you cried with tummy ache & feeling sick today was going to be a bad day.
You see, that tummy ache & feeling of sickness that keeps interrupting your world isn’t an illness like you think, its anxiety.
Anxiety is rude, it’s invasive, it ruins the things that we should enjoy and it’s come into your little life far too early than it should be allowed to.
Like the Swimming Gala training you should have been at this morning at 9am.
You were chosen for that gala because you swam so quick on your first trial. You were picked to represent your school against the other schools in our area…
….only every week since that first trial your anxiety has taken over and whilst every other child runs in with excitement you refuse to get out the car with fear.
So this morning you woke in tears, begging me not to send you in as you’d convinced yourself you had a sickness bug…you couldn’t eat your breakfast and as we got to the pool you had totally lost it.
We sat in the car & the tears started running down your cheeks before turning into hysterical sobs. You told me your palms were sweating, I saw your neck was red and patchy, your breathing is erratic and then you said “Mummy I have that scared feeling in the bottom of my belly”…
I tried to explain I had a really important course I couldn’t be late for and I asked you to be brave and go in – but you don’t care about my course, or that it’s important – and why should you, you’re 8 years old and you needed your mum.
And you shouldn’t have to be brave when your whole body is heaving on the pavement because the fear of facing this is now just too much for you.

So I got out the car and I went in & spoke to your teacher. She asked me if I think you’ll manage to compete at the Gala next Saturday as she’s noticed you’ve not been yourself…and I told her I don’t know.
I can’t make those promises that you’ll be there, because despite me begging and pleading, despite me trying to bribe you, despite me trying to encourage you I don’t know what else I can do.
And I know as we’ve been there so many times, I’ve managed to convince you to go to your friends party or the school disco but once we arrive those same feelings kick in as we pull up in the car it doesn’t matter what anyone says…that panic that takes over your beautiful little body stops you taking in what anyone says and you just want out of there, immediately.

Despite people telling me I should ‘toughen you up’ and force you to go to these things I’m not willing to do that. I physically can’t – because you’re not ‘playing up’ or ‘being naughty’ – in fact you rarely do either of those things.
You are polite, you’re well behaved and I know deep down you would desperately love to join in with these things like your siblings do.
I only hope as you get older it will become easier for you but if I’m honest I don’t know how – with growing up comes social media, secondary school & boys. Girls can be so cruel to one another and I worry for you & how things will be.

So I’ve decided, all I can do is keep encouraging you. I’ll keep reminding you how loved you are & how proud I am whether we make it to the swimming Galas, the parties or the discos – and if we don’t, then that’s absolutely fine by me 💙


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