Kate has spent years supporting childend and parents, she is a good friend to Non-Perect dad and this letter to her daughter touches on some wonderful and challenging themes for all sports parents. Enjoy.

My dear Esme

What words of wisdom can I share with the girl who lives life to the full with hardly a care in the world! Oh to be 4 again!

Do you remember seeing the photo of you as a tiny baby at your first ever Turtle Tots swimming lesson? Swimming became one of my favourite activities in our week together as you were so happy to be in the lovely warm water, floating around to the teacher singing nursery rhymes. As you got older, the pools got colder and the lessons got a little bit more serious! Think back to those few months when you’d cry and cling to me during the entire lesson? That was a long 30 minutes for us both. I got so close to stopping taking you, but we stuck with it. And look at you now! Same cold water, the lessons stepped up a level, but you absolutely love it! When daddy gets home from work you run to the front door to tell him all about it!

You have been surrounded by sport since the day you were born (one of your first presents was a mini hockey stick!). Sport has always been a part of my life. My mum & dad, your granny & grandpa, met at their local squash club where they spent all of their time when they weren’t working. Growing up, sport was often being played or watched in our home. Fast forward a few years I met your daddy, the man who couldn’t love sport more if he tried! He lives and breathes sport. You wake him up in the middle of the night and he feels robbed of his sleep…..England are playing hockey in the middle of the night and he sets the alarm and couldn’t be happier to get up! Most Saturdays, we wish daddy luck as he goes off to either play sport or take his pupils at the school he works at to their sports fixtures. So sport will be a part of your life too, but it is up to you where you go with it, all that matters to us is that you do what is right for you.

In time, you will understand more about the work I do but I guess one of the things I try to do is to help people to find ways of overcoming the challenges they face. I often talk about sporting examples because we can learn so much from sport. I will probably keep reminding you of your swimming journey – when you’re finding a subject hard at school, when you can’t see the point in something, when you want to give up on a challenge. It will remind us that often it is best to stick with things, even if it doesn’t feel like much fun, even if it’s uncomfortable, even if it feels impossible. It is often worth it in the end.

A letter to a 4 year old wouldn’t be complete without a Disney quote, so it’s over to Dory from Finding Nemo to have the last word on what to do when things feel tough…. ‘JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING!’

All my love, Mummy xx

Kate is passionate about mental health and equipping people with tools and skills to empower them to support themselves and others. She is a freelance trainer and workshop facilitator, delivering a wide range of courses and sessions in educational, sporting and corporate settings. She is an experienced Mental Health First Aid instructor, offering both the Youth and Adult programmes. Kate is also an Associate Trainer for several organisations including Rethink.

Check out her work here: www.arunawellbeing.co.uk

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