The Gymnast

On Friday Isla was awarded ‘star gymnast’ at her gymnastics class. We were so proud. Isla has an unbelievable natural ability, her cartwheels were done to perfection by the age of five. She is incredibly strong (six-pack kind of strong) with wonderful coordination, I would love to take credit for this, but I really can’t. I can trip over my own shadow. You would think, given that she’s on first name terms with staff at minor injuries, that she was the clumsy one. But actually, she’s the outgoing, not scared of anything one, which often ends in broken limbs. It’s not clumsiness, it’s sheer determination to do things. Dangerous and daft things usually. Gymnastics is her thing. It has taken years for us to persuade her to join a class and when she did attend one taster session, the coach immediately saw potential. She joined a group and then was invited to join the advanced group. Friday night was the first time that we have seen her in her advanced class. Wow. That kid can move, and jump and bend with such ease. It was really impressive stuff to watch.

She drives me crazy, my little Isla. Really crazy. She’s dramatically grumpy and ridiculously stubborn. Jon says we clash because we are so alike. I have no idea what he means. But despite all of her grumpiness, her untidiness, her stubbornness and her general teenage type of attitude, she’s also a shining star. 

A couple of weekends ago she performed on stage with her drama group. She was amazing, so confident and looked so happy, so comfortable and at ease. There were two shows over that weekend and she was poorly, really poorly. After each show she crashed and burned - literally, each night she had a very high temperature. Yet she was adamant that she was going to perform. That child is incredibly determined, to a fault sometimes. Perhaps a good Mum wouldn’t have let her get up on stage knowing she wasn’t well, but I promise you, if you’d have seen her acting and dancing you would never have known she felt ill. Like I say, she was amazing. 

Isla’s strength and determination often takes my breath away. She is one tough cookie and she helps me to be strong myself. That little girl has experienced more than a child should ever have to experience - yet she shines still, she shines brightly, on stage, at gymnastics and in life. Her dad would be so proud.


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