“Mom, this is a big day for me,” said Cameron on the way to his Tae Kwon Do black best test. As I looked back at him in the rearview mirror, I could tell he was nervous about his test. He was looking out the window, the black belt oath clutched in his hand. All week he’d been working on final preparations for his test, which included carrying a raw egg with him to prove his responsibility, writing a paper about his journey to black belt, fine-tuning his forms and self-defense, and memorizing the oath.
The two-hour test included forms, breaking, sparring, self-defense, all of which Cam passed with ease. The best part of the exam, though, was when Cam read his paper out loud to those assembled. Although I’d tried to help him, for the most part he wrote it himself—painfully slowly—over the course of two days. He thanked his master instructors, his friend Sam, and his parents. But what meant the most to me was the sentence he wrote about our time together at Tae Kwon Do: “I also want to thank my mom for doing Tae Kwon Do with me. It’s always great to have someone on my tail catching up to me.” I may never catch up to Cam, but having him to follow as a role model is better than great.