Wednesday, September 08, 2010

"We had a good run, and now it’s over; what’s wrong with that?" — Garth Stein

Today we had to put our dog Java down. She was 15, with arthritis and dementia, riddled with lipomas (fatty deposits), and in pain. Funny, how all that comes to mind is cliche: she's in a better place now, it was the best thing we could have done, and so on. I think, Oh, I'm OK, and then the tears run down my face.

Java was our training for children. I remember the first night we had her home, and I was teaching her how to go up and down the stairs when suddenly it hit me: I was Responsible for her well-being. I had to teach her how to be safe, to listen, to obey. I had to feed her, and give her water, and exercise her, and comfort her. I sat down on the top step and took her in my lap and promised her I'd do my best, even though I was scared. And we worked well together.

She was very protective of the kids, hated any man with a hat (sorry Mr. UPS man), and loved to snuffle under the bird cage. She tolerated Buck (the frisky 5-year old golden retriever), ignored the cat, and barked at us when we didn't go to bed on time.

Thank you Java. You will be missed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

(as seen in ATA World Magazine - June 2010)

by Lysne Tait

I did not want to join taekwondo. I had been watching for 7 years and I enjoyed being a taekwondo mom. I enjoyed my relationship with the school owner Mr. Elijio Martinez and his wife, the respect of the other students, and the ability to chat with the other TKD moms during class. I loved watching my boys and my husband do something they loved. Besides, I wasn't (and had never been) very athletic. Then, our school changed owners, my youngest decided to join taekwondo, and my mom's cancer returned. I thought all I needed was an outlet, but what I found and what ATA has provided for me was so much more.

I joined Master Flotka's ATA Black Belt Academy in DeWitt, MI in January 2009 with my 5 year old daughter. I was worried because classes were held at night - right around dinner time. How could I juggle the kids' classes, adult classes, dinner, and bedtime, and remain sane? My family stepped up. My son Liam (a 2nd degree Black Belt) had been urging me to join for years. He offered to babysit the younger kids while I was in class. Molly (my 5 year old) was just excited that we were the same belt color. My other son Adam (then a blue belt) would coach me on my kicks and stances, and my husband, Craig (also a 2nd degree Black Belt), offered to make dinner once a week (and help me learn my material and sparring, and ferry kids to and from classes). Our new school owner, Master Carl Flotka, a Sixth Degree Black Belt with more than 30 years experience also started a morning class twice a week, and that clinched the deal.

After watching hundreds of taekwondo classes, I thought I knew what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. I have never been surrounded by so many people who wanted me to succeed. For the first time in twelve years it was all about me. I have been a teacher, a wife, a mother, a friend - always worried about the welfare of others - and here I was, learning some something new, with people who wanted me to do my best. Taekwondo may be a competitive sport; the learning of taekwondo is not. At the end of my first class, I was in tears: overwhelmed by the kindness and support of my family, my instructors and my fellow classmates.

I was also in a position that I hadn't known in quite awhile - that of a newbie. For years I have been the expert, or at least pretended to be the expert. Joining taekwondo was a new beginning. I would get upset with myself because I couldn't remember 3 steps in a row, and my husband would admonish me by saying, "It's new. You’ve never done it before. It’s OK to not get it right the first, or third or fifth time."

I never expected to enjoy taekwondo. I never expected the friendships I've found, or the sense of accomplishment and pride I feel. I've been to 3 tournaments in the past year, and had an awesome time at each one. I've lost weight, tightened and toned, and feel incredible. Perhaps the most unexpected and life-enriching benefit is that of the family I've found. Taekwondo members cared for my house and dogs when we were called away to take care of my mom during her final week. I came back to DeWitt to a clean house, a stocked refrigerator, and flowers and other treats. But that’s simply what family does for one another.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

is it possible to fall in love with your love again?
there are times, when the sunlight falls through the window at a certain angle;
when his hand caresses a dog's ear, or a child's curls, 

or rests on my knee - only for a second -  
that the feelings rush to the surface, coloring my cheeks, and my breath sticks in my throat.
who knew, that after 20 years, my heart would still pause, and skip with delight?
It's not always like that - there are days when my teeth grind into each other and my eyes roll at every comment -  but those days are scarce - sprinkled sparingly amongst the better days.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Really? July was the last time I posted? Wow. My world has been rocked and then some since then...

At the end of September, Kisti, my mom, lost her battle with cancer. She had been fighting it/dealing with it for 13 years. And Oh! how I am so grateful for those years. I really thought I'd be more bereft. I am sad, and I miss her greatly - but it's only in those quiet times, in the middle of the busy times - when I used to call her just to say hi - that tears come to my eyes. My favorite quote right now is Edna St. Vincent Millay: "Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell. "

To keep myself sane, I've been doing taekwondo, taking care of my kids, reading, talking with my father. The taekwondo has been most helpful. We have an awesome TKD family - dinners once a week (20+ people), facebooking, coffee. I've been to two more tournaments, (2nd & 3rd in Sparring & Forms, both times). I'm now a blue belt - more than halfway to my Black Belt. This is so much fun. I never thought I'd be in TKD: I never thought I'd like it so damn much.

The kids are growing like weeds. M is 6 going on 21, A is the same, time-oblivious kid, and L is soo soo excited about starting Lacrosse - in a month. Craig & I have started our 21st year together, (OMG!) and we are enjoying our life with the 3 kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats & 12 birds.