Jessica’s first sports day

“Look, Mummy! I’m the winner!”

The look of pure joy and delight on my daughter’s face as she crossed the finish line last was so beautiful to see. For her, sports day was all about taking part – not coming first, but just being there with her friends and joining in.


A proud little girl with her winner's medal - "Jessica's first sports day"

For me, it was a very proud mummy moment, albeit a slightly bittersweet one too. It was one of those moments where the reality of how Jessica’s heart does affect her hits home for me. I see her running around at home, doing all the things that I would expect her to be doing at her age. I almost forget the fact that she only has half a working heart. It is only if she over-exerts herself and is significantly bluer than usual, or more breathless, that I notice it. But out on the playing fields, with other children her age, the difference is clear.


Egg and spoon race - Jessica's first sports day

As the other children crossed the finish line, Jessica was still only halfway there, but determined to keep going as everyone cheered her on for those last few metres. She was unable to keep up with everyone else’s pace. But she was there, taking part and loving it all. It might have been a moment of realising how her heart affects her but, as is often the case, it was also coupled with a moment of seeing how her zest for life shines through.


Jessica holding a beanbag on her head

Jessica running towards the finish line with the other children

She did have a little wobble when sports day first started and needed lots of cuddles from Mummy. She wanted me to hold her hand and run with her until the last race when she felt more confident to go up without me. I quite enjoyed taking part in the races with her though! Sophie also wanted to get involved and tried to join in once or twice before she finally fell asleep and had a little nap out in the sunshine.


Jessica crawling through the tunnel in the obstacle race

Sophie having a nap in the sunshine

This time four years ago, I was just three days away from the pioneering in-utero surgery that would give Jessica a chance of life. She has been on quite a journey in those last four years. Seeing her at her sports day made me realise again just how far she has come and how utterly blessed I am to be able to enjoy these moments.


Jessica with her winner's medal at her first sport's day

My little miracle is certainly a winner in my eyes and always will be. I hope that she will always be able to hold on to that sense of joy that comes from taking part because there are so many things that are much more important than taking first place.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

34 thoughts on “Jessica’s first sports day

  1. Utterly blessed, for sure. I’m glad she enjoyed herself. There will be a sport out there that she will call her own and show what she can do. I hope she doesn’t lose the spirit to try. #CountryKids

  2. Enjoy these special times, I read this with fondness and and understanding, I have my last ever sports day coming up and I shall miss them so much. Well done Jessica and I love her smile and medal, of course she is a winner! Thank you for sharing a very special first sports day on Country Kids

  3. I think sports days can be incredibly overwhelming at the best of times, for everyone! Jessica did brilliantly by the look and sound of it and she is such a happy little girl-you must be so very proud x

    1. Thanks Iona – I was definitely very proud of her – it was such a lovely moment 🙂

  4. Aww! Bless her! She is so adorable! It’s not the winning that counts it’s the taking part and she looks like she was having the best time! Well done Jessica x

    1. Thanks Kim – she was having the most amazing time, so lovely to see how much she enjoyed herself 🙂

  5. This is a lovely post and the photos really do show how Jessica has a zeal for getting stuck in and enjoying herself. Sometimes we do compare our children because it’s in our nature, and I suppose seeing Jessica not quite as fast it’s easy to do just that. But she’s so strong in so many other ways, and clearly enjoys taking part. She’s obviously has a great time and it seems like you have, too.
    We had our last nursery sports day last week and it was felt quite sad – as of September I will no longer have a preschooler and that time has gone so fast! So enjoy those sports days, they go by so quickly!

    1. Thanks Tracey – you’re right, it is easy to compare although I try not to do so. It was lovely to see how much she enjoyed herself even if her pace was a little slower than her friends. I can imagine that it is quite sad to be coming to the end of those preschool days – we still have another year left to enjoy before my big girl starts school x

  6. Lovely pictures and great post too. Jessica is utterly amazing and you’ve every right to feel proud of her. What a star! The twins had their first Sports Day this week too, and DS3 came last in every race (mainly because he was too busy looking back at me and grinning) but he loved every minute of it. While I’m not keen on sports day I was really glad that I went – doesn’t seem that long ago that I was watching the teen’s first one!

  7. Look at her smile! She is clearly loving it! It’s much better to enjoy the journey and not worry about being first at everything! 🙂 xx

    1. Thank you Elfa – she is a little sweetheart and was lovely to see her enjoy herself so much 🙂

  8. Oh Louise, I cried a little reading your post. The way we see our children at home and at school is very very different. It reminded me of a video of an athlete who hurt his leg mid-race and whose dad went on the track to support so he could get to the finish line. Everyone was cheering them and although he arrived last, he was the real winner of the race, the one who touched the people there. Your little miracle is so strong already, so determined…

    1. Thank you Mel – it was lovely how everyone was cheering her on for those last few metres. I remember seeing that video – was so beautiful. Jessica is always a winner in my eyes 🙂

    1. Thanks Sarah – she has come a very long way and it was so lovely to see how much she enjoyed her first sports day 🙂

    1. Thanks Caroline – she is such a happy girl and it is so wonderful to see her enthusiasm at joining in with things like this 🙂

  9. She really was a winner that day, I’m so glad she enjoyed it. I understand it being bittersweet for you, I felt like that last year. Every parent felt so competitive, we just hoped Ethan would run in the right direction. I’m sure this is the first of many great sports days for Jessica, you wait until Sophie can take part too.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)

    1. Thanks Jane – I can imagine that it was a similar experience for you with Ethan – when your little ones have other challenges to contend with, just taking part becomes the most wonderful thing. Lovely to link up again 🙂

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