Nearly 5 years ago our son first held our daughter. He was all smiles, squirming with restless energy at the prospect of helping care for his baby sister. Now there are days they can’t seem to be within earshot of one another without a fight. Their mutual annoyance isn’t a constant as they proved to me this weekend.
This weekend our 9 year old had his green belt test, even though he was well prepared, he woke up full of nerves. He quietly snuck into our room early Saturday morning only to be disappointed that his sister beat him to an early morning snuggle. His back stiffened as I offered to make room for him, knowing he likely woke up nervous for his test. To avoid a tussle, he and his dad headed downstairs to start the day. Our daughter, snuggled in to my shoulders and said “He has a case of tickles in his tummy.” For the next few minutes we talked about why people get “tickles in their tummies” and what we could do to help. I was pleased to see her compassion for her brother’s situation and her wisdom always surprises me.
For past belt tests we’ve hired a sitter come over and watch our daughter. My husband and I want to be able to pay attention to the test and I won’t lie, get some great pictures to share with family and friends. And frankly, the thought of trying to keep our daughter occupied (and quiet) for 90 minutes is a bit anxiety producing. This time we’d need to leave for a birthday party at about the time the test was likely to end. So, off the four of us went, hoping for the best. I packed snacks, crayons, notebook, my iPad mini and a positive attitude. We’d see what happened.
Our daughter did great! We kept her busy drawing on her notepad and virtually on the iPad. She watched as the kids went through the testing elements, enjoying when it was time to cheer for each group. We only had to remind her to whisper a few times. Oh, and another helpful activity, we turned on the forward facing camera of the iPad and got some silly shots of her…my how kids love to look at themselves. I think she enjoyed seeing her brother succeed.
For our son’s part, it was a good test, but he struggled a bit. He stayed up too late on Friday night and as I mentioned woke up early Saturday morning. He was tired and nervous, never a fun combination for anyone. I could tell his head wasn’t in the game at first, I knew he could do better. I told myself several times this was his thing, his journey, his opportunity to make of it what he would. And then he surprised me. When it was time to break a board the Grand Master gave him a thick board to break (he was the only one to get a “thick” board). He tried several times and just couldn’t get it. Normally he would do one of two things; get silly or get frustrated and give up. He did neither. The Grand Master switched out the board, gave him some encouragement, altered his stance a bit and BANG the board broke.
We all cheered (and I teared up). So proud of his willingness to stick it out.
Many runs this week I too wanted to give up. The pressure of getting my mileage up so I don’t embarrass myself at the 12k on April 13th haunts me for at least part of every workout. I continue to remind myself to focus on the next step. The only thing that matters during a workout is the decision to keep going. Only continued practice will get me to my goal, no amount of worry will help me have a good race.
I logged 20 miles this week with my best average mile time of 12:13 yesterday. Nope, I won’t win any races with that, but winning isn’t my goal. Spending 45 minutes, 4 times a week is what it is about for me. What do I need to achieve my goal? To take it one step at a time.