My daughter, who will turn five this spring, is taking ballet and karate.
She is loving ballet.
Karate? Oh, boy, not so much.
The Sensei is very serious and she, in her own way, is serious.
He wants her to get the moves right. She wants to get the moves right, BUT she struggles – with him, with herself, with discipline.
The Sensei has an intense look about him, like he could spring any minute. Frankly, he even unnerves ME. I am never still. He IS stillness.
Originally, I had thought her karate time would be my time. There is a bench outside the “dojo” where I had expected to sit, read, write, sip coffee, drowse….
I spend it with my face pressed against the glass door, giving her the thumbs up, nodding, smiling, mouthing “OOSE! YOU CAN DO THIS!”
I have witnessed another child running to the window, pounding on it, then yelling at his parents, “I AM DONE. I AM FINISHED WITH KARATE!”
and the Sensei, waggled his finger at him said. “I say when karate is done. Sensei says when it is finished. Now. Come back to Sensei.”
I stood there like a fish out of water. Mouth open. What have I gotten us into? It seems too much for such a little girl. She wears a pink belt, for the love of mike…
He told one boy, “Hush. You talk too much. Be more quiet. Now, back of line!”
Last week, she ended up crying and I took her to the bench… once….
Then, she began to cry in class again. I didn’t know what to do.
I make eye contact with the Sensei. I mouth to him. “SHOULD I GET HER?”
He gives me a faint smile and his gaze locks with mine. I immediately feel peace. His hand lifts and he shakes his head, no, just slightly.
Then, he drops to one knee, talks quietly to my daughter. I do not know what he is saying. She hangs her head for a minute. Then, she lifts it. She is no longer crying.
He and she take positions across from each other. They begin to kick. I watch her confidence build. She is smiling. Then she laughs. I see she is more upset at herself than at him, the class, the lessons or even at me for putting her there.
I am watching as she learns to trust in herself, in the process of growth and the ability to do more than she thought she could. I actually watch her grow that very minute.
It fills me with joy, sadness and fear… all the things she too is experiencing.
And she is going to karate today. She will learn something. Kinder Karate Kid!
And, Heaven help me, I will learn more today, too. Dammit.
HUGS TO EVERYONE
PS-- I have a very busy weekend -- I will try to answer questions tonight -- hope you all have a nice Saturday