Yesterday at TKD we had a test. Basically it means I spend from 9-1 grading others doing TKD and 1-5 or so getting graded on what I can do. Both girls tested yesterday and only M2 earned her belt. So bear with me on the longish story.
I had spent the morning judging and at noon, the sitter dropped the girls off. I was about to be sent to the kids table to judge yet again and I requested to go to the adults table. The adults were in a different room. At first the Grandmaster objected and I admit I was tired and already in pain so I lost my composure momentarily and actually argued with him and said “Why? Why can’t I judge the adults, my kids are testing over there and I don’t ever get to see them test because you always have me with the kids?” The other judges were mostly shocked as I am NOT known to challenge authority. He smiled and said “Fine you go to the adults.” Yay small victory. So I got to watch both M2 and N test for their belts.
Now at one point in the test the Master Instructor looked at me and asked if the grading sheet that parents do for their kids was accurate or did I do it when I was angry. I explained that on top of the fact N physically attacked me last week she has been lying constantly to me about small stupid things and refusing to follow any directions. The Master Instructor looked at me a bit apprehensively and I volunteered to show her the healing bruises on my arm. At that point she decided N was not going to get her belt. I supported the decision but was a bit aggravated this could not have been decided before today when she is in the test.
The kids did the test and they did well for the most part. N has trouble keeping up but they all know she is challenged so they cut her some slack. Another judge made a comment about M2 and I reminded him that she was my daughter AND she is on the Autism Spectrum so no enthusiastic is not what she is going to be when she is anxious because she is being tested. The other judge apologized and said something about forgetting because she “looked normal”. I bit my tongue not all individuals with Autism flap and do stimming behaviors….grrr…..When it came time for the belts N was in the last line and the Master Instructor asked her about her behavior at home. N admitted she has not been good so she was then to that she had to wait for her belt because “respect” was part TKD and if she was not being respectful to me then she was not really being a good TKD student. She was disappointed but understood.
Then it was my turn to test. I kid you not the test went from 1-5:30. I am not even going to get into the amount of torture this was and while no it was not all active, it was everything we have ever learned like ever. It was forms, self defense, knife defense, basics and weapons. It was a plywood floor on a cement bed and by the end of the class many people were struggling to get up and down from the floor due to exhaustion and soreness. I had gone in with an injured foot and by the end of class when we had to stand for the last time I saw stars from the pain so no part of this was pleasant. FINALLY it ended and we could go to the potluck dinner which we had all brought food for.
Good news my home made mac and cheese was sucked up in a heartbeat. Nope not a drop left!! So we all sat and socialized for awhile and had a good time talking about parenting challenges and struggles with things like teeth brushing and disrespect. You know common parenting struggles. We also talked about TKD and how it had helped out kids for the better. At some point I figured I should go as I was exhausted and desperately wanted to ice my foot. I go to get up and struggle as my foot is badly swollen at this point. One woman E walks toward me, E is a black belt as well and sometimes is my partner in black belt classes. She asked if she could talk to me for a minute and I said sure as I was not sure what the conversation was but I was not worried in the least.
E looked at me and immediately said “I have done you a HUGE disservice and I want to apologize” I was confused, she has always been pleasant to me and helped me whenever I asked so I did not understand. She then continued to explain that this whole time she had been judging that I was “too critical” as a parent and maybe I could not see what a joy N really was and how could I be so out of touch. OK I did not know where this conversation was coming from but knew that being defensive was not a good option. E then explained how she sees the “good kid” that N presents at school and assumed she is always like this and that I am the issue at home. Now that E knew “all the crap N put you through” she was sorry, so very sorry she judged me. Apparently when E asked N why she did not get her belt N went into the long list of violent things she has done past and present and E was shocked!!! Both E and her husband D asked her why she was such an awful kid at home and N of course could not tell them.
At that point I laughed and said “Oh that part I can help you with. See N knows that I love her and that it is unconditional. She treats me the worst because she knows the love will continue regardless and I am safe for her to dump her feelings onto.” E looked puzzled a moment and said “So wait when your kid treats you like crap it is because they know you love them and will always care for them regardless? Well that is just messed up.” I told her yes but agreed it was messed up. E then told me that her stepson was diagnosed as Reactive Attachment Disorder and I relayed that was M1’s diagnosis so that was a pain I was familiar with. We talked about what brilliant manipulators they were and what it felt like to be the one they were ugly too. In the end I said to her “Please know you can talk to me anytime about being the parent of a challenging kid. I know it is not always the parent and will support you even when you feel like crap.” E gave me a huge hug and apologized again for doing to me what so many others had done to her. I assured her I was not angry but grateful she admitted it and was making amends.
See what happens when you assume………