Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Michael isn’t exactly team-sports oriented. We tried soccer last year and honestly he wanted to try it, but mid practice he’d walk off the field or just have a seat-right on the Astroturf. Now to his credit we had selected a lousy soccer program where the coaches were really just teens too busy flirting with each other across the field to notice the big bully-like kid who had stolen Michael’s ball since he couldn’t find his own. But he tried…kinda. Each week, his participation grew shorter and shorter until the one week we couldn’t go, he was happy. At that point we quit soccer.
I did want him to have some sports like thing in his life but in all I wanted him to enjoy it. I was starting to realize that a self reliant non-team based sport was for him. We got pretty hooked on swimming this summer and his self confidence grew. We followed Michael Phelps and he became Michael’s icon until some time in February when Mommy stopped telling him that he could grow up to be like Michael Phelps. So I was off again to think of how to inspire Michael when a friend of ours invited Michael to “Buddy Night” at his Karate class. I groaned and spoke through my teeth, “We’d LOVE to come to a class…” Michael was somewhat excited; Mommy was not. I had all those negative preconceived notions of karate; its really fighting, its violent, theres a whole bunch of seriousness not fun, and on and on. But there we were carpooling to a dojo preparing my whole “yeah that was nice….we’re not doing that again” speech.
Oddly it was nothing like I had expected. It was small groups and tons of praise for listening and following directions. Small groups of 5 kids. Genuine fun. Teachers who somehow seemed to remember that there were little funny kids inside those big white starchy uniforms. He beamed all night after the first class. Yes, the FIRST class.
Tonight we went back and signed up . Michael got his uniform and was so proud to put it on. He was the only person to be new in the class tonight and they were wonderful. At the end of class, much to his surprise, Michael was presented with his white belt. The small class applauded him and I actually thought I almost saw him cry with joy. His pride is through the roof right now. And as he said to me driving home, “It’s really like Yoga…but you get to yell REALLY LOUD!”So I was wrong I guess about the whole karate thing. Don’t tell him though—he thinks I am super cool tonight for signing him up…actually his words went something like “the BEST Mom in the universe.”
Yeah. Yeah, I know….