Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To my blackbelt

This is the speech that I read to my daughter at the awards banquet during which she was awarded her black belt in taekwondo...


Your Daddy Bryan, little brother, and I are very proud of you.  You have reached a major accomplishment and you have most definitely earned the black belt which you will now wear.

When you were two, I did what many mommies of little girls do; I enrolled you in a ballet school.  Although I did not have the fierce conviction held by the other mothers that ballet was essential to raising a little girl; I did think ballet would teach you grace, strength, and confidence.  Ballet was a learning experience.  It taught me that you already knew who you were and you would stay true to who you were.  Being only two, this was expressed by opposition to participation in any activity in which you were required to wear “pink legs.”  I knew you would find a passion, outside of academics, which would allow you to express who you were.  What I did not know, however; is that this would be in the form of taekwondo lessons.

WHAT?  I had spent so much of my energy keeping you OUT of harm’s way!  (I think now is a good time to thank all of the amazing instructors at the TKD studio for their patience in dealing with the most protective mother who has ever come through their doors.  With their help and gentle understanding, I was able to overcome my fears as you enthusiastically studied the disciplines of board breaking and sparring.)

I knew you loved it from the beginning; the tenets themselves are who you are (except the humility one.)  As for being in harm’s way, it has been quite the opposite.  Your training has served you well and KEPT you out of harm’s way.  Through your journey to black belt, I have watched you become not only physically stronger but mentally and emotionally stronger (but still not strong enough to tolerate the color pink.) 

Julia, you now radiate more grace, more strength, and more confidence than many girls I know who have worn their “pink legs” for years. 

I am honored to be your mom and I love you very much.

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