Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Fighter, The Lover, The Lap Cat

The Fighter

Friday morning at the bus stop, I asked Aidan if he wanted to go to kumite (karate sparring) that night. (Secretly, I always hope he'll say no. I took him, once, and it was hard for me to watch. I admire and respect his Shihan (essentially, translated to master teacher) so much -
and I respect the discipline that karate instills in my son and in so many other children. I understand that the kumite is kind of the point of karate, and yet... I hate seeing kids hit each
other. Even when they are highly skilled, very impressive, very careful and respectful and simply honing their craft, without a trace of maliciousness or malevolent intent.) Anyway. I asked Aidan if he wanted to go to kumite.

"Yes," he replied with conviction. "I have a plan," he said.

I love this about him. I love that he is such a strategist. He thinks about what he'll do, plans the move he wants to focus on during the sparring match, and works hard to execute (His plan? Any time the opponent tried to deliver a roundhouse kick, Aidan thought he'd sweep him to the ground. We practiced at the bus stop - once. Thank god I still outweigh him more than twice his weight. And that I was wearing cleats.) I love watching him play chess with Jeff,
watching him work out problems with his potential moves, anticipating what Jeff might do. I love playing checkers with him, seeing how he counts remaining checkers, defends his last row against crowning kings. I love that he is competitive, eager to see how he'll fare against a bigger, more aggressive, more experienced opponents. I love this about him, because it is so different than how I am, how Jeff is. The "nature" argument wins in this debate. Aidan's competitive spirit is definitely innate. This boy, he is a fighter - a thinker, a strategist. I learn so much from


The Lover

Leo loves to go and watch Aidan do karate and kumite. He's occasionally expressed interest in joining his brother, but ultimately opts to stick to his own pursuits - right now, ice skating and soccer. Still - he begs to accompany whomever is taking Aidan to the dojo, and sits quietly, taking it all in. I couldn't help but grin at the irony of Friday night, however, after they had all
returned home from kumite. Aidan headed straight for the shower; Leo, having bathed earlier, went straight for his sketch pad and markers. And proceeded to draw 8 of the most perfectly formed red hearts I've ever seen. Straight from watching 45 minutes of intense fighting (for there were some kicks to the head, blows to the jaw, tears, and struggle - ) he sat down at his table and colored eight red hearts. He is such a tender-hearted love.

The Lap Cat

If I'm sitting, chances are, my lap is full of a boy. A Pax boy. I affectionately call him my lap cat, alternately, my shadow - because if I'm sitting, it's with him. If I'm walking, he's behind me. I realized, quite suddenly, how much I will miss having a Lap Cat when this boy grows to be as big as either brother. The intimacy of the first years - of having a newborn who fits snug into one arm; an infant who nestles perfectly into your chest; a baby who drapes across your shoulder; a toddler who molds effortlessly into the jut of your hip - is something that cannot be replaced, only remembered. I will miss these lap cat days - mealtime, story time, play time, bed time, every time - these days of having laps and hips and arms full of a small, affectionate, delicious little person. Pax - my lap cat.

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