Do you know what I like? You may not believe me, and especially if you know me, but sometimes I like to be wrong. OK, I hear the peals of ringing laughter, yeah yeah yeah. Sometimes I go with the odds, and sometimes the odds are against me, or you, or someone else, and I adjust my expectations in a downward direction. But every so often, I am proved wrong in this, and good things happen anyway, like they did today for my middle child, good ol' Mr12.

I guess I don't write about him as much as I do about droll and dramatic CouchTeen or the wildly-funny, bizarre, and lovely MissEight, because he is just this rather sweet, easy-going, happy guy. He is rarely any trouble, and adapts well to most everything that comes his way. This was not exactly the way he began, although he did truly always have a sunny disposition. He was difficult to feed for many years, and we worried about him. He had some trouble with schoolwork, and we worried about him. He was treated very harshly by a teacher, and we worried about him. He at times felt worried too, and we worried about that. Many times, he seemed just on the edge of failure...but then pulled up at the last possible second. This child was the one out of the three that I expected would get the most knocks in life, and perhaps withdraw in response.

But look what we have here. Today, after beginning his mixed martial arts class six years ago as a six-year-old, he earned his black belt. Six years, year-round, at least two or three times a week. His instructor, a sharp, compassionate man, doesn't pass anyone through if they do not truly earn their stripes and belts. There were times Mr12 expected to be advanced, hadn't done his best, and had to wait for promotion. And that's how it should be. Some kids didn't last in class. It's hard work and a big commitment. MissEight tried it a few years ago, and it did not go well, because as she found out, martial arts instructors will spend zero time arguing with insolent pretty five-year-old girls. Perhaps she will return to it later in life. I know, HA.

I expected him to quit. So many nights he was tired after a long school day, and would have homework to do after martial arts, and just wanted to relax. But he never once asked to quit. The one kid I thought was least likely to persevere, did. The work and the goals meant something to him. I thought he wouldn't be able to do it, and I was wrong, and I could not be happier about that.

So today, Black Belt Saturday, our entire family turned out to watch Mr12 test and cheer him on. Here's a little video of it -- music kindly provided by the trio of Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. Daltry was prolly out havin' a punch-up.

He wants to keep going. I will keep taking him. Congratulations, Mr12.