The Perfect Outfit

Janice Kern, TACA Mom and Dang Chic

Charlie karate kick butt

There was a special event planned for a particular evening. As with most special events, I wanted to pick an outfit for the occasion. Fortunately, a package had arrived several days before so I didn’t have to think too hard about what to wear.

The occasion was our son, Charlie’s, junior Black Belt TaeKwonDo test. He started TaeKwonDo at the age of 8. He required special one on one instruction from very devoted teachers due to the many challenges brought about by autism. After the first 15 minute session, we were hopeful that he would be invited back. We knew the instructor might determine that this was a challenge too great to take on. We were thrilled with the invitation to bring him back for another class. It was a huge effort each class. Charlie earned his white belt (first belt level) along with his special uniform and we were happy. We thought maybe that would be the end of Charlie’s TaeKwonDo career. We were very thankful when the instructor let us know to bring Charlie back for another session. In order to earn his orange belt, he needed to take a test. It was a huge challenge. He cried through most of the test. He needed to wear a snowboot in order to break his first board. But he got through the test and we were proud of him. He wasn’t proud at all. He couldn’t get over the anxiety of the experience. But we continued to another session of private 1:1 taekwondo classes. Several more belts were earned similarily to the orange belt. There was a lot of anxiety and tears. However, in the last 2 years, Charlie has made a leap in progress and the anxiety and tears have been less frequent. A year ago, it was determined that Charlie would be given the opportunity to work toward testing for his junior black belt. He was able to join the regular TaeKwonDo classes with the large group of kids leading up to testing date.

Finally, it was junior black belt test day. Charlie was very well prepared. For the first time, we had marked the test date on the calendar so that Charlie knew the test was coming. In years past, this caused greater anxiety so we avoided making notes on the calendar. Charlie has 3 brothers who know very well the hard work required to get to the point of testing for junior black belt so were all excited to watch the test.

Test day arrived and I needed to be ready to be supportive of his huge effort. I also wanted to be ready to celebrate, personally, what we have given of ourselves in order for Charlie to get to this day. I wanted to dress the part.

I opened my package from Dang Chics and knew right away this shirt was perfect for the occasion. The tag on the shirt was such a great way to describe a mother whose child is affected by autism. Hot Mom, Gives A Lot, Schedule Crusher were three of my favorites. This black belt test is something Charlie has earned and worked so hard to achieve. But what I have done for him to have made this day happen makes me feel like one tough dang chic. We have met and come to know many people who have helped Charlie along the way but we’ve also met plenty who didn’t share in our hope for Charlie’s future. Wearing “Dang Hopeful” on my sleeve while watching Charlie perform the required moves, kicks, oral recitations and board breaks was absolutely the best outfit I could find for the occasion.

Dang Chics has created a T-shirt especially for moms like me. I like it so much and I love that a percentage of sales goes back to the organization that keeps helping our family: Talk About Curing Autism. There are other businesses that support TACA and that’s why you will see me wearing Oakley sunglasses on my sunny days (while I’m wearing a TACA shirt) and purchasing supplements from the companies that give back to TACA. These amounts just from my few purchases add up to a small amount. But for all the Dang Chics out there, this adds up to helping families. Like mine.

Charlie passed his test. He is now a junior black belt. And in all the pictures from that special day, I proudly have ‘Dang Hopeful’ on my sleeve.




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