Friday, April 20, 2012

Yeah, Join the "FUN!"

I have a confession to make: I STINK at being a Cub Scout Mother. Last night I had that point driven home to me for about the ba-jillionth time. (No doubt the more proficient Cub Scout Mother would not use the word "ba-jillionth," but trust me--it fits.)

Last night, on my second son's 11th birthday, he received his Arrow of Light Award at his final pack meeting... nothing like waiting until the eleventh hour, right? But he got it... and now he can attach it to his Boy Scout uniform. (It happens to be the only award that a Cub Scout earns that is displayed on the Boy Scout uniform.) I would just like to thank all the den leaders who made that possible. Really. Right now.

Pack meetings always have an adverse effect on my psyche. They remind me of all the areas where I fall short as a mother--or at least a CUB SCOUT Mother. Tonight as Aaron received his final award as a Cub Scout he wore a shirt that was missing a button and didn't contain ANY of the awards he had earned as a Cub Scout; plus, he was using a rubberband as a slide.

But at least it had the right pack number on it...

Six months after Jacob, my oldest child, began Cub Scouts, I decided it was time to make him look the part of an official Cub Scout, so one afternoon I sat down with my sewing machine and his shirt and began placing the badges in the appropriate spots. I sewed the numbers on THREE times, because they kept shifting and ending up crooked. The whole process took me THREE FULL HOURS. I was beside myself with annoyance and full-blown frustration. That night at pack meeting I asked a fellow Cub Scout mom about her experience placing numbers. Not without threat to her own life, I am sure, she divulged one of the mysteries of the Super Secret Society of Cub Scout Mothers: adhesive--no sewing required. I can only guess how I missed my initiation for this sisterhood, but I have been harboring a grudge toward the Cub Scout program ever since.

My boys have never been able to wear their Cub Scout uniforms with pride... well, except for that one time when Jacob FINALLY had all the appropriate patches on his uniform. That lasted one full week. Then the ward was split, the Little Valley 7th Ward was created, and we were assigned a new pack number. Sadly, my husband was/is the bishop of that new ward and I knew we were going to be in a new ward... I just didn't consider how it would impact our pack number.

I have one more shot at this Cub Scout Mother gig. My third son will turn eight in December. (Thankfully, we get an eight-month hiatus.) Now my dilemma is whether or not I dare to "dress him up right," because after all--what would the other boys think?

Like I said, pack meetings are a poignant reminder of my shortcomings as a mother. I hate standing up in front to receive the mother's pin when my cubs qualify for a rank advancement for a couple of reasons: 1)The den leaders deserve those pins far more than I do, and 2) The pins always leave holes in my shirts... and then I feel guilty for caring about the holes they leave in my shirts. Maybe that's three reasons. Anyway, last night I let Aaron pin it on his dad.

Is there an antithesis to the "Mother of the Year" Award? Because if there is, I am sure to be a frontrunner.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What's In a Word?

Well over a year ago, I found myself in a dark theater with a friend (although I am at a loss to recall exactly WHICH friend) watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Only one part of the movie managed to survive in my head past the Exit doors. The main character, Elizabeth (played by Julia Roberts), is enjoying a meal with newfound friends at a restaurant in Italy. As they sit around the table, savoring Italian cuisine, one of them poses the question, "What's your word?" suggesting that everybody has one word that basically defines them.

When it is Elizabeth's turn to share, she shrugs her shoulders and suggests that "writer" might be her word. She is immediately shut down, being told that "writer" is what she DOES not what she IS.

So I asked myself, What is MY word? It didn't take long. My word is practical--it serves me as both a blessing AND a curse in nearly every aspect of my life. My practicality keeps me grounded. It keeps me from being on the extreme end of many debates, fashions, and movements. It often parades as Common Sense, even though I would like to shake it off at times. I can't. It is a part of me. It is me. I AM practical.

Practicality hasn't won me any Best Dressed Awards or made my home a candidate for Better Homes & Gardens. It means that my hair is very rarely (read: never) perfectly coifed. Sometimes I wear my running shoes to run errands. I have very few pieces of furniture that were purchased new. I drive old cars because I just can't see the sense in spending money on new ones. I recycle. In fact, I have a drawer filled with sheets of paper that all still have one perfectly good side. I wear a lot of jeans and t-shirts. I might be better suited to farm life than suburban life.

Truthfully, there are times I wish my hair was more prone to perfect coifing or my home had a better-home-&-garden look. I enjoy having beautiful things around me, and I occasionally want to splurge on some new furniture or decor.

So, where has this practicality gotten me?

Tonight I was thinking back to a conversation I had with a friend of mine some time ago. She was going through a particularly dark period of her life and was having a dreadful time falling asleep each night. One night as we were out walking, she confided in me that sometimes when she needs to fall asleep at night, she thinks of me. She insisted that it wasn't my dull company that helped to lull her to sleep, but rather my comfortable way of being. Thinking of me helped her to feel calm. I decided to take that as a compliment. Further, I wonder if perhaps my im-perfect way of being sometimes helps others feel perfectly comfortable (and hopefully safe) with me.

So now the question is...

What's YOUR word?