Sunshine had a belt test this week. I'll get to the outcome in a minute, I want to start with the weeks leading up to the test.
The Tae Kwon Do school that Sunshine attends does a great job of rewarding kids at each belt test (basically at the end of each session). If they are not ready to earn their next belt, they earn a stripe and the instructors tell them what they need to do to earn the next belt. Being that these kids are fairly young it is rare that a kid moves from one belt to the next without a stripe or two or three.
Sunshine had a green belt and 3 blue stripes before the belt test. I go to almost every class, so I knew she was having trouble with the forms she had to do to get her blue belt. So I asked her if she wanted to get some extra help with the forms. We arranged to make that happen, and then one of her classmates who was going to help her got sick. So the extra practice sort of fell by the wayside.
Another one of those things I wish there was a handbook for is how to teach your kids to handle disappointment. I, like most, have had my fair share of disappointment in my life and frankly I know it sucks. All that lesson learned, better person BS aside. In the moment and for several moments after wards it sucks. In my head I know that Sunshine will have many disappointments in her life, heart breaks and goals that she reaches for and misses. In my heart, I want to protect her from every single one of those moments. I want to feel that sadness and disappointment and heart break for her.
So the last two weeks of our lives have been rather difficult. Now that we are on the other side of the belt test I can see how my trying to prep her for disappointment and telling her if she didn't get it this time, she would definitely get it next time. Her accusing me of "rubbing her face in" the fact that she might not get a blue belt (not quite sure she understands how to use 'rubbing in your face' properly yet.) And the two of us being so similar in our incredible ability to curl up inside ourselves when we are really stressed and trying to deal with or process something. You can see how things lined up for a perfect storm of difficult times in the house.
I can see how we are reaching a point in her life and our relationship where I need to let go a bit more, where I need to realize that my baby who is years older than being a baby is capable of doing so much without me. And that we are reaching the point where she is starting to decide when she needs me, or when she wants to need me, and I'm trying to learn the dance of not being too pushy and still having to parent her, and teach all the life lessons I want to.
We made it through these two weeks, and we'll make it through the next tense time too...
Drum roll please.. .. I held my breath for the 5 minutes they were handing out belts and stripes... and she did it.. she earned her blue belt. She is amazing.