Every week, we take the kids to Tae Kwon Do. The teacher is wonderful. She is amazing. She has a knack for working with kids with all different kinds of issues. She is a school psychologist. She cares about these kids. This is more than a martial arts class, it is therapy. I am convinced most of the children in these classes(Riley for sure) would never ever be able to take martial arts anywhere else. She’d be given the boot for being disruptive. She’d be treated punitively.
That being said, every time we announce it is time to get ready to go, there is a meltdown. This isn’t about being rushed. We start talking about going, at 11:00, and don’t have to be there ’til 1:00. It is a struggle, every week, to get Riley out the door. To get dressed. To get moving. She is melting before we even leave.
Martial arts is tough for her. She does not know the meaning of the word, “slack.” She cares too much, gives 100%, every moment. And it is exhausting. She does not understand you let a push-up or two go if your arms are ready to break. You might not hold the most perfect lowest stance, if your legs are tired. Every kick needn’t be full-throttle. She never gives herself an ounce, then compares herself to others who have taken these little bits of rest and thinks, “They are able to keep going, why is it so hard for me?” No amount of talking will convince her otherwise.
We put her in martial arts hoping it would help her gain body awareness, to know where she is in space. She’s the kind of kid who gets out of the car, and backs up into oncoming traffic, oblivious to what’s going on around her. We wanted help with that. We wanted to help her gain confidence. This isn’t a macho beat each other up school.
She’s safe from harm from the other students, but not from the thoughts going on in her own head.
She has gotten in good shape, and her muscle tone has improved.
She has made herself proud, many times.
But is it worth it?
Todd and I are battle weary. We just are.
And this class is expensive. Very expensive. Think out of pocket therapy expensive, rather than typical martial arts class expense. And Seth goes too, because it is easier to have him participate than to entertain him while we are there, and trust me, a parent has to stay and Todd works every other weekend so Seth has to come. It’s not like I can whisk him off to the park for some quality one on one time while Riley is in class.
Todd busts his tail for this family. He gladly works overtime every week.
Is it worth it?
Am I hanging onto this because I love their teacher so much?
Yep. That’s a big part of it. This place is such a nurturing holistic, positive community. I know the teacher really loves our kids. That sense of community, a place where Riley is understood. It is so valuable.
And I don’t want Riley to feel like she’s failed.
Right now it is all about the belts for her. That’s all she cares about. Keeping up with others in her belt level. Individual progress means nothing. Personal gains don’t matter. The fear of falling behind the others in her class is her only motivation.
I hate her God damned fear. I hate it. I’m sick of it. I wish it would leave her alone.
Wanna see the pathetic verse I wrote the other day? Get out the violins.
I will gladly give my life
I will die today
if I can take her anxiety with me
and all can talk
and say what they want,
it must have been her mother
she’s fine now
It’s not how God works,
but I’d do it
In a heartbeat
I’d do it
So anyway, yeah. Todd and I have been mulling this over for a while.
They are at martial arts class right now. Getting Riley out the door to get there was once again, a nightmare. Why are we putting ourselves through this?
I think we’re done with Tae Kwon Do.