McRae has been practicing taekwondo since last July.
It all started when we went to see his cousin Luke (who is a year older, and therefore greatly admired in McRae's eyes) in a belt ceremony. There was much yelling and kicking and hitting of boards. There was jumping and twisting and moves that defied gravity. It was right up McRae's alley.
Join now and receive 2 weeks free and a free uniform!
The promotional offer was the icing on the cake, and we left the busy auditorium full of kids in white taekwondo uniforms with various colored belts with a stack of joining papers, a class schedule and a very happy 9-year-old.
McRae took to taekwondo beautifully.
Having finished, but not been very enthused (and bored to tears, plucking worms from the grass in the outfield) during his last year of playing baseball, we'd been looking for a sport or activity that would better suit his personality and interest. Taekwondo seemed the perfect fit because the program not only reinforced good behavior at home and at school with it's "5 stripe program", but also allowed our agile, nimble and energetic son to display some of the talents that we'd seen as he leaped over fences since he could walk.
He progressed nicely through the school year, earning his stripes on his color belts as he went. Any time his behavior would slip at home, all I had to do was mention the instructor's name and I would see an immediate look of terror.
He practiced and memorized his "poomse", the taekwondo term for a series of coordinated movements that accompany each color belt and must be performed perfectly in order to advance to the next level, with ease and never seemed to struggle, let alone, be bored. I was amazed at the skill and strength it took to get through each level, and as the months progressed and the belt ceremonies were completed, McRae showed us, in so many ways, how taekwondo had become his "thing".
He had found his "thing". Finally.
And now, tomorrow, he will compete in his first ever tournament.
And I won't be there.
Brett and I are going, with our two very best friends, to spend the weekend in Seattle and see the hilarious Jim Gaffigan. We get to stay in a fancy hotel and have cocktails at 3 in the afternoon if we want. We can walk to Pike Place and people watch, without kids. We even get to have dinner without cutting up anyone's food or taking somebody to the bathroom 8 times (let's hope not, anyway!). We bought our tickets as soon as the show was announced, many months before we knew about the tournament.
This little bit of adult fun is the postponement of our anniversary gift from September and the promise of a little time away from the kids. It is needed. Very needed.
But I'd be lying if I said a huge part of me wasn't a little sad that I wasn't driving my little taekwondo guy, instead of my parents (who are the best grandparents in the world) to his tournament and cheering him on.
It's this balance, between kids and your "other" self, that can rip even the toughest mother (and I am not saying that is me) to shreds. And I know that he, and the other 2, will be in good hands, but I'm a little sad that I won't be there too.
Go, McRae, Go!