Taking a nervous gulp of air, I feel Lily’s grip around me tighten as we head towards the open door. All around us is the excited chatter of children running around, the playground – calling to each other as they play.

Today is Lily’s first day of nursery and I am her Huggable Hero Mummy, Sarah. Of course, real Sarah is with us too, delivering us safety to nursery, but she can’t stay to help Lily settle in.

Lily is a quiet and nervous girl, until she gets to know people. So this is a big deal for her. Not just meeting the nursery staff again but also 19 other small children, all set for their first day. This is where I come in, a teddy with Sarah printed on that Lily can take with her for comfort so the transition isn’t so tough – on either of us! Because, of course, it’s probably harder for the parents than the children and it’s comforting for us too, to know they have that safety net.

I know I will probably spend my day in Lily’s backpack, but that’s ok, because I know, that she knows, I’m only a few feet away and she can go and take a peek at me any time. Just knowing I’m there will give her confidence and help her first day go more smoothly.

As we step over the threshold, I notice another Huggable Hero out of the corner of my eye! A kindly looking chap in a uniform, clutched under the arm of a little girl who looks as nervous as Lily! Lily notices too, and they share little smiles of recognition.

Before long, I am popped into the backpack, which swings slightly on it’s peg in the cloakroom. I watch Lily gaze over her shoulder at me and send my best happy vibes to her as I peek out the bag.

At break she comes and gives me a huge hug, whispering that she has made some friends, then at lunch she skips happily into the cloakroom, linking arms with the little girl with the other Huggable Hero, and gives me a cheeky wave as they head out to play.

When real Sarah comes to collect us, I am caught up in the hug between her and Lily and she gives me a wink. I may not have done much in actions to help Lily on her first day, but just BEING there has made all the difference to our shy little Lily. instilling confidence and helping the little lady settle in on her first day, and every other day.