maybe you really can't go home again

IMG_0485_3 Callum at karate in 2007. That was then.

Callum had a karate tournament this weekend at his old school. We were thrilled at the start of the year to learn that his instructor was going to be teaching a class at his new school. Part of this was selfish of course. Karate is good for our boy. It gives him confidence and self-discipline in spades. But also we love his sensei. We love the way he teaches, and we were thrilled that a new batch of boys and girls were going to be able to experience this wonderful man and his introduction to this ancient art.

Callum can't get often to karate. While he's been taking classes since he was in kindergarten, he has dropped in and out, always managing to keep it as a thread in his life. The class at the new school is offered twice a week, but with his schedule, he only manages to get there on Fridays. I feel certain that he doesn't practice at home as often as he should. And yet, when we asked him if he wanted to do it again next term, the answer was a resounding, "yes."

He was so excited to participate in an inter-dojo tournament this weekend. Sensei was able to bring kids from his free standing dojo and the dojos at both schools (Callum's old and new school) together for one event. And while Callum generally thrives on competition, he was mostly anxious to go back to his old school and see his friends, some old and some new all together in one place.

The first person we saw when we got there was a boy from Callum's class last year who had been in and out of karate with him through the years. In no time it seemed that everyone was happily hanging out, and the tournament went off without a hitch. We told Callum's sensei what a great idea we thought this was, and even though he didn't win in his division; Callum felt good about how he'd performed.

IMG_6902 Callum, this Saturday. This is now.

When we got home, a different story came out. Turns out that kid we saw when we first got there...the one who'd been a friend and classmate of his last year was actually pretty mean to our boy that day. Called him a traitor for going to a new school. Said to another friend that he hoped Callum didn't win. That he hoped no one from Callum's new school won. He called the mom of a friend of Callum's a hippopotamus. (She's not.) All really nice stuff.

Callum was pretty bummed. To say the least. He doesn't feel like a traitor. And come on folks, let's face it. He's not. His parents are the ones who decided to send him to another school, and Callum has made a good effort to go back and see his old friends. He's always done it with an open heart, anxious to reconnect. Each time though, his expectations have been too high perhaps. That was certainly true again on Saturday. Unexpected for all of us, but I think we've learned a lesson here. Sometimes maybe, the old friends aren't the best.