Monday, January 4, 2010

Always a Blackbelt

Tonight, the tails from his black belt laid heroically along his legs.

Six years ago, the wires from his heart monitor lay gently above his blanket.

Tonight, he held his skinny frame tall. All 46 pounds of him stood proud.

Six years ago, I could hold his 3lb body in the palm of one hand.

Tonight I watched as my older son, the one we call Potter, accept his Student of the Month Award at his Karate School. The speech from his Sensei was followed by the honor of receiving a black belt with a gold stripe through the middle. He was told the black symbolized what he still had to achieve; the gold symbolized what he has achieved already.

Tears streaming from my eyes, his grandmom and I fought over the best camera angles. His little brother Scooter stood with Pop Pop wondering what all the fuss was about, but realized something big was happening, because for a few minutes, even he quieted down.

The first time I laid eyes on my son, the doctor held him above me for a moment then quickly had him rolled away to the NICU. I was not allowed to hold him. The second time I saw my son, his body was being helped to breathe by a ventilator. I whispered: "Potter, it's Mommy." His jaundiced body turned toward my voice and he held tightly onto my finger. I learned that day the meaning of strength.

Tonight again he grabbed me tightly. But this time, his arms ran closely around my waist.

He gets to wear his special belt for the entire month of January, then he will return back to his purple belt. It may just take that long for him to understand just how far he has come. Or like most kids, he may not get it until he's much older.

As I reminisce over the hundreds of hours of physical therapy, the swimming, soccer and karate; one thing I know for certain: This child has always been a black belt.


ethelmaepotter! said...

Oh, how beautiful! When I realize the emotional rollercoaster you must have ridden in his first few months of life - and now to see this little man striving for the strength and balance that will earn him a black belt - I am teary.
Keep this post always, so that Potter may read it as he ages. The day will come when he will be emotionally able to appreciate it properly.

Eva Gallant said...

What a beautiful and touching post.

Jen and Joe said...

Being misty eyed makes it tough to read. What a beautiful story.

Christina Lee said...

That was so very lovely!! Brought tears to my eyes. What a special little guy!
oh and p.s. I 'm not going to the conference--I tried but couldn't get the flights to work to my advantage. I think I'm gonna look at the flights one more time today!

Anonymous said...

awww maybe it is my lack of sleep but this post totally made me cry.


I love love LOVE the illustration between the belt and the cords from the visual and heart-hurting at the same time.

I am just as proud of Potter as you are and I don't even know him.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and directing me here. God knew I needed this story today.


Linda said...

Hi, Stopping by from SITS.
What a wonderful post. You should be proud of him as well as yourself. Love the correlation between the two.

This Mama Works It! said...

Oh my gosh what an absolutely beautiful post. My eyes welled up as I read it. That is amazing! Congrats to your little man!

Charlene said...

I'm proud of him too and he's not even mine....what a wonderful post.

Mrs Gloves said...

Awww! Congrats to your little man!

...stopping by from SITS...

Steph @ Stick It in the Fridge

Marie said...

Oh my, that made get all teary, what a wonderful post!

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

This was a lovely post. Very touching. Congrats to Potter!

Kat said...

Stopping by for a little belated VGNO action. Hope you are having a great weekend!