Cameron came racing up the stairs to where Brianna’s mom, Deb, and I sat watching the youth class. His sensei had taken them downstairs to the smaller room for their class, with several benefits: while we can go down to watch, few parents do, so less acting out for parental reaction; less distraction for the small ones; it’s quieter down there most of the time; and if the big kids are doing big active stuff, the little ones aren’t in the way. We’d heard the sounds of clapping drifting up the stairs, and I commented that someone was getting a gold stripe. But I doubted it would be Cameron. He’s up for testing at the end of February, so I figured they’d wait to gold-stripe him until the second week. But no. My gleeful and proud little boy waved the tail of his belt as he hurtled towards us, calling, “Look Mama, look!” There shone his fourth gold stripe.
We’d changed, and were heading down to our usual ‘dinner date’ restaurant. As normally happens, Deb took my bags in her car, while I ran with the kids the few blocks down to the waterfront. And as usual, the kids were ‘racing’, with Brianna way out in front. There’s an alley that scares the living daylights out of me – I can just see a child forgetting to stop, or tripping, and in the blink of an eye being right in front of a car with a driver focused on the traffic of the road he or she is turning on to. So I sprinted to plant my feet and be ready to ‘catch’ Brianna.
Cameron was behind us, running swiftly but focused mostly on the yellow belt with four gold stripes he insisted on carrying. I’d allowed him, with a stern warning to not let it get dirty. I heard a man shout something, and turned around, to see Cameron face-down on the sidewalk. I don’t quite remember getting to him, but I do remember him being reluctant to sit up, but not yet making any real noise. First thing he did? He reached for the gold-stripe end of his belt. Then he started howling. He had blood on his fingers, and on his lips, but while his cries were definitely “I hurt bad” ones, they weren’t outside of normal bumps and bruises cries.
Snuggled in bed, I kissed Cameron’s owies very gently. Bandaids protected the ones on his fingers, nothing to be done about the fat and bitten lip or the cut on the side of his nose, and the ones on his face and knees were just scrapes. We’d had a really good evening, and the fun of dinner distracted him from the fall.
What was your favourite part of the day, Cameron?
When I got my gold stripe, Mama!
I told him that I was so proud of him, that he’d worked really hard for that. And that I was a little sad. I missed getting to clap for him.
That’s okay, Mama!
You could clap for me now.
You’re right! I can!
I gave my little love a standing ovation, and cheered my heart out (quietly, it was late)