Wednesday, May 2, 2012

we all should wear our medals proudly

Last weekend was Cowgirl's belt graduation for her martial arts class.  She has been attending classes for over 3 1/2 years now and is now in the advanced class which seems crazy as she is half the size of the older kids in attendance.  We have weathered some serious storms in martial arts including the session when she did not test for her next belt; tests where she had to go home and practice more; and now new curriculum which seems to have some sort of progress check every week along with check sheets and forms to be completed in order to receive attitude stripes. 

New to the program are medals given out for attendance, participation in book club and self discipline and attitude.  I have to admit, the paperwork alone is a nightmare and it is only the most dedicated and probably uber over-achiever parent who follows through thoroughly on all of it.  Which is to say, me although in my defense I may regularly remind Cowgirl of her forms, but she fills them out and I believe my standards are pretty high when it comes to deciding what constitutes form-worthy acts of self discipline and winning black belt attitude.

The faux-Olympian style medals seemed a little anti-climatic after all my book-keeping and Cowgirl seemed fairly blais√© about the whole affair.  But later that day I had friends over to our house and when Cowgirl appeared she was wearing all of her medals. 

She wore them to dinner with my mother and again the next day when she accompanied me to my yoga class.  As the sound of all of them together is a bit loud - I keep thinking the dog is up on the counter but no, it's Cowgirl sitting there - she has been instructed to only wear one medal to school.  So every day this week she has wore a different medal to show her class.

In other words, she is extremely proud of herself and her achievement and she isn't shy about letting others know.

Which has got me thinking about how I don't feel comfortable sharing my medals or in my case, my achievements.  I can think of all the medals I won't be stringing over my neck: patient mothering award, efficient housekeeping, healthy and taste buds satisfying meal prep or most attentive daughter.  And don't ask the Husband for an evaluation of my wifely duties.  

If I had to claim any real success, I suppose I might say "snazzy dresser" because I do put effort into looking pulled together even if I don't always feel that way.  (My one legitimate reason for staying in my day job is the fear that if I didn't go to work, I might never get showered or dressed ever again.) Despite the lack in my general housekeeping I am a Paper-Clutter slayer, keeping the tsunami of random bits of mail, school memos and  arty doodlings from drowning us.  I keep on top of the recycling.  I manage Cowgirl's social and school calender.  I monitor the dog's input and output.  I floss and gargle and am attempting to change the bed sheets weekly.

pages for Paint Your Story by Mindy Lacefield

No, none of these is really medal-worthy material in my opinion.  If I were to receive a medal I suppose the one I would be proud to wear would read "Never Gives Up" which may make me sound like a cancer survivor or a special olympics athlete but there it is.  I fumble my way through the difficult moments with Cowgirl when she really really tests my patience, love and endurance (if there anything snarkier than a 7 year old girl with napoleonic attitude, I haven't met it yet ... unless it is said 7 year old at 8 or 9 or - god help me - as a teenager!); I begin over and over my yoga and meditation practices; I paw through and occasionally add to any number of written, photographic and art journals; I gather new sewing, knitting and gardening projects.  No matter how badly these things may go, I begin anew by dusting off my attitude and wiping my psychic slate clean of past disasters and flops.  

And being totally honest, I would include a medal for whatever part I may have in shaping the attitude (sassy but independent) and ideas of the girl who can create this:

Most committed to practicing self love.  Maybe that is the medal I aspire towards ... one I would proudly wear.

the most powerful word is ♡ Love ♡


  1. love this post Lis
    love how she proudly wore her metal...children walk through those things with so much more ease that we do as adults
    but you are right
    we all need to wear our medals
    when we do
    then others will feel safe to
    we all have things we have medals for...each and everyone of us

    lets be proud and wear them : )

    love and light

    ps thanks for visiting the other day, love to see your wise words in my space

  2. You know what? I don't want a housekeeping award. Seriously, I have better things to do!! :) My general approach to dust is "don't disturb it," if that tells you anything, and we'd all love to be more patient mothers but we're just people, the dirty little secret of parenthood. I think we get the kids we get because they can teach us something. (I obviously have a lot of lessons to learn, as I have three children...)

    I love that she is wearing them LOUDLY. Make a big clanking statement. Why not?!

  3. I agree, I love that she is wearing them loudly! I always say my children are my best teachers. I learn so much from them daily. And I think, as adults, we should wear our medals proudly too (but maybe, in some instances at least, a bit more discretely?). I know I am darn proud of surviving some of the things I've lived through. They have made me much stronger. And they took the same kind of stamina and perseverance an athlete would need for a long-distance race. So my medal is a handmade cross-stitch on the wall above my fire-place, full of symbolism, ispiration and hope that nobody but my husband and I understand, but act as a beautiful reminder each and every day.

  4. Oh my heart melted when I read of the pride Cowgirl has in her medals. I love that children wear their hearts on their sleeves like that, without all that head noise that can often clutter my actions. Lis, I am sending you the virtual medal of being a wonderful friend across the miles :)
    Lots of love,

  5. Lis - you are such an award winner in my humble opinion. you have such a gift with words - as well as all the other amazing talents you have - and the fact that you are wonderful a mom to cowgirl - your life is proof - it's all here on Dandelion Seeds and Dreams xoxo

  6. I snorted out loud over "quitting-the-day-job-never-getting-dressed-again." I'm certain that would be my reality. plus I'd weigh 400 pounds. I like to think if I had more free time I'd exercise more, but in truth, if I was home all day, I'd snack all day. I could wear a medal for non-stop snacking. but I digress. YOU get the medal for putting into beautiful words the things we readers feel in our hearts but haven't found a way to squeeze out of our addled brains. you show your beautiful vulnerable self, and say the things that make us nod, and sigh, and shout YES YES YES. wear that medal proudly! xo Karen