Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

I'm over being upset about being clocked yesterday. Sorry if I sounded annoyed. It's a contact sport. Gotta get used to that.

Today, actually all weekend, I've been thinking about my mother. I just talked to her on the phone. Yes, she got the flowers I sent (a pot of lilies of the valley, not yet in bloom). She'd seen my brother, hadn't yet heard from my sister. Wondered how I would spend the day. Asked about the boys. I wished I could be there, or that she could be here.

At our TKD promotional tests, there's always a moment when Master Hughes asks "who's the most important person here today?" The answer is not "you, sir," though often a child says that. "It's your mom and dad," says Master Hughes. "Now go give them a hug."

It's a nice point of the test, with children running back to Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa. Sometimes Mom or Dad is on the dojang floor taking the test alongside them. Master Hughes wants the kids to remember how much parents' encouragement and support means when learning a new activity, whether it's ballet or soccer or TKD. Sometimes parents show support by learning alongside their children, other times, they offer support from the sidelines.

My mom was never a sports mom with me. She didn't sign me up for sports when I was a child. That's mostly because I wasn't interested.

I wasn't a very athletic child.

Actually, that's an understatment. I was the last to be chosen for kickball, the first to be thrown out in dodgeball, the one who couldn't do even one "pull-up," the skinny girl with little coordination and less strength.

Today, a mom would definitely sign that kid (me) up for sports, don't you think? Wow, I needed physical activity, some way of getting stronger. But then (late 60s, early 70s), it wasn't done, at least not by my mom.

My mom supported our activities, but let us kids decide what it was we wanted to do. I wanted piano lessons (so I could learn to play like Mom), so she signed me up. Later, it was flute. Occasionally, I bugged her to sign me up for art classes. When I was a horse-crazy 10-year-old, my mom found ways for me to learn to ride horses, an expensive and rare activity in our suburban neighborhood. But it was really my thing, not hers. She was never a "horse show mom."

I have a very strong memory, though, of one time my mom made the first move to get me involved in something physical. I was in high school, not doing any kind of physical activity. (Today I find that hard to believe!) Mom found a modern dance class and encouraged me to sign up. Once I got started, Mom got out of my way and let me keep going. I did, despite being really awful at dance when I first started.

Lots of kids at TKD have very active moms. If they're not cheering from the soccer or TKD sidelines, they're doing a step class, or running, or doing TKD. My mom was never like that.

I don't ever remember my mom--or my dad--"exercising" when I was a kid. Although both of my parents were relatively fit and energetic, they were not good role models in the area of recreational exercise.

That is, until I was in college, about the time my mom was, let's see, mid to late-40's. She and I got into the early-80's aerobics craze at the same time! And she began taking daily early-morning walks with friends, which she continued (every morning at 6:30!) until her stroke in 2002.
Even today, she continues with exercise sessions for the wheelchair-bound, and has private workouts with a personal trainer. Now that's dedication.

So how has my mom helped me to become the Taekwondomom?

Mom always gave support when necessary (rides to the stable, getting me started in dance) but mostly, she stepped back and let me find my own passions.

Today, as taekwondomom, I'm doing martial arts because I wanted to do them not because someone says I should. I don't need someone saying how wonderful it is that I'm learning TKD. I don't need a family member say that I'm good at it. I don't need to be reminded to keep up with it--because I've found something I can be passionate about.

Mom helped me learn to find activities I can be passionate about and make them my own, to find rewards in just doing an activity, not in looking for a reward in praise from someone else. And today, she's showing me how to remain dedicated to what you love, even when adversity strikes.

Those lessons have shaped who I am as an adult student--a student of ballet, of writing, of Tae Kwon Do.

Thanks Mom!

1 comment:

TKD Rocker said...

In my dojang, we also have to go hug our parents at testing, which I always enjoyed as a child, and now can appreciate as a teenager. I remember one mother's day in school (I was 6 or 7) we all wrote why we loved our moms. Instead of saying "she's nice," or "she cheers me up when I'm sad," I said, "She drives me to Taekwondo". Looking back on it today, I have mixed feelings for what I wrote. On one hand, I wish I had said something a little less materialistic, but on the other hand, I was passionate about TKD, and without my mom's support I wouldn't have been able to enjoy that passion. Now that I have my license and drive myself, I kind of miss having my mom there. I look to the back of the room where all of the little kids' parents are sitting, and wish that my mom was there as well. She still comes to testings of course, but its really not the same. And I think I'm ok with that. I miss those times, but I'm glad that I had them, and my mom still supports me in all that I do with TKD, and that's all that matters.