Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Karate Class

My husband has been off of work for the last few weeks, recuperating from knee surgery.  I must confess it's been rather nice since he has taken over many of my normal tasks.  I no longer have to rush around in the morning, trying to get myself and two boys ready and out the door on time.  In the evening, when the clock reads 5:00, I am no longer forced to abandon the piles on my desk and dash to my car to pick up my younger son from after-school care and then head home to cook dinner.

It sounds lovely, doesn't it? But it's come with a price.

I had suspected as much, and my suspicions were confirmed last night.  My husband had the opportunity to go to dinner with a friend, and he asked if I would mind picking up the kids from their karate class.  Not a problem.  I figured I would stay a little later at work, since class didn't end until 6:30, and try to knock off a couple of the million items on my to-do list.

I made it to 5:30.  That's when it hit me. I just didn't want to be there any longer.  I was tired, Spring-Break-can't-get-here-fast-enough tired.  I stayed a few minutes longer to straighten up a few things and to make sure I was ready for the next day.  Then I grabbed my bags, turned off the lights, and walked out the door.

It was early enough that I thought about going home first, but as I neared the turn-off for karate, I steered that direction instead.  Usually, when I take my boys to class, I bring with me papers to grade or a book to read.  Last night, I walked into the building empty-handed.

For 30 minutes, all I did was watch my boys kick, punch, and perform escapes.  And I loved every minute of it!  If felt so freeing and relaxing to do nothing but sit and watch my boys.  It seemed they had grown stronger and more sure of themselves during the weeks I had missed. Jack's kicks seemed steadier and Jared's punches sounded more powerful each time his fist met the pad. I beamed with pride. Really, I think I literally beamed, or at least I wore a goofy smile on my face. I felt so happy to just be there, to be spending time with my children, to be fully in the moment with them.

Yes, it's been nice to have fewer responsibilities.  But it turns out that when those responsibilities involve your children, it's a loss, not a win.


  1. I am so glad you had this time at karate with your boys. Your wonderful description of your thoughts and actions reminded me of MANY years ago when my daughter first started playing soccer. Thinking I didn't have time to spend an afternoon at the field, I abandoned my schoolwork and went anyway - and was transformed by the contentment that fell upon me there. Balancing a life is so hard, especially when there is just TOO much to do. But it sounds like you are finding the right things to focus on. Good for you!

  2. Thank you for the wonderful reminder to just sit and watch every once in awhile. Life is so incredibly busy, and I love how you reflected on the power of just being an observer at your children's activities. It's definitely always time well-spent!


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