In all her 9.5 years, I don't remember a time when Alison has been more proud of herself.
She's impressed herself, sure. She's done well in school. She's created some killer moves on the monkey bars, and she's had some super sweet belches.
But Saturday, she passed her first taekwondo belt test with flying colors. She broke her board with her right (and injured) foot on her first attempt. It flew apart in four pieces a precisely the moment my camera batteries died.
I think her smile could have powered the camera if I had enough McGyver in me to figure out how to harness it. Jeff's smile was just as huge.
She'll get her yellow belt this week. She's pretty sure she'll stick with it long enough to earn her black belt. We'll see about that, but right now, yellow is looking pretty good.
Speaking of yellow, Alison's injury to her right foot was actually to her big toe. She was wearing flip flops last weekend and helping a little girl from across the street climb the magnolia tree in the front yard. It was wet from a short, but intense rain storm, and she slipped and fell out of tree onto a metal container I salvaged from my parent's house.
She put a pretty big dent in the container, and it rewarded her with a huge bruise on the back of her thigh. I think her toe got caught up in the sandal. In any case, she was some upset and hurt. I don't think she'll be climbing in flip flops anymore.
She and I were in the car the other day, and I mentioned a boy in her class. His name is Sammy Kacius, and I always pronounce it with a hard "a," which is wrong.
"Mom. It's Kascius," she said for perhaps the 1,098th time.
"Man, I hope you don't marry him. I'll never get your name right," I said.
"Dude," she replied. "If I marry Sammy Kacius, he's changing HIS name."
Today we spent part of the gorgeous and unusally warm fall day getting pumpkins and carving them up. We caught up with Dominic at the vegetable stand and he came home with us. The two of them fight like an old married couple. He's the male version of Jenna, although Jenna's actually tougher than he is.
He's a sweet boy, though, and he's the one who introduced Ali to taekwondo. So I guess we'll keep him in the family. He also advanced belts this weekend. A couple weeks ago, he was threatening to quit the sport. Master Park can be rough on the kids, and one night when Dominic wasn't as focused as he should have been, he had to do push-ups and practice a particular kick over and over and over.
I think he'll stick with taekwondo as long as Alison does. He did, you may remember, profess his love for her in front of the entire first grade. Unrequited though it may be, Dominic is nothing if not hopeful.
The couple that kicks together may very well stick together for all I know...