Oh to be 4 years old and blissfully unaware. I bore witness to a scene last evening that threatened to burst my heart in two. On a particularly crowded buddy night during the girls karate class, I sat toward the back row of the parent watching section while my small humans continued working on their new-found skills.
As a parent, it never dawned on me to teach jumping jacks, sit ups and push ups to my toddlers, but the joy I get watching them attempt these multi faceted motor skills, donned in their gi’s each week is immeasurable. What requires zero thought for us grown ups to perform, actually requires much concentration for tiny minds & limbs.
In addition to the standard warm up exercises and the beginner karate skills they are learning, these classes often consist of drills that require them to perform a skill from one end of the mat towards the parent seated end, touch a hand to the mat and run back.
With the influx of new children trying out the class last night, there were longer and more, lines than usual. Craning my neck from side to side making sure I was keeping equal track of the two lines my girls had been separated in to, kept me occupied and looking a bit like a pigeon. However it feels important, for them to see me smiling and waving before they touch the mat and about-face for their run back. I had just finished watching my ‘Bug’ skip (we will use this term very loosely) down, and jaunt back up to the end of her drill line.
I was waiting for my ‘Bean’s’ turn when I noticed the instructor about to call the end of the class. A slight moment of panic skirted my heart as I watched my ‘Bean’ “take off” from her line, brow furrowed in full concentration on this skipping skill that she has not quite mastered. Swiftness not being her strong suit, she focused more on trying to get her feet to land the way she wanted. Her technique was elementary at best and her pace closer to snail form, but what grabbed me by the heart and made me almost leap onto my chair in an applause was that she could not have cared less that the entire room was watching & waiting for her. Despite her turn having just come up, all of the other drill lines were finished and waiting for her return as she moved down the mat towards the observing parents. But my sweet girl stayed focused on her task. When she reached the end of the mat, her head flipped up, eyes found mine and the accomplished smile that spread across her face made me feel like the proudest Momma to have ever lived.
This entire scene played out in less than a minute, and likely affected no other person in that entire room, but my world shook. I had spent the day frazzled with work, coordinating our lives, and frustrated with the newly developed, stress related spots on my face and stain on my pants from lunch. As a grown up, I have worried that my imperfections this whole day would somehow diminish how I am perceived. I was, embarrassed. But here was my beautiful child, completely imperfect in her ways, and yet somehow far more enlightened then I will ever dare to be, with all eyes on her as she worked her skip/ wobble hybrid down the mat. She was, in that moment, my absolute inspiration.
We will keep working on the skipping, but the pure joy & blissful unawareness; we are bottling that up.