At the end of the day

Something really bothered me last night. It has bothered me for a little while now. They want to change the day and time of Cub Scouts. That does not bother me so much, it would be nice to have it at a different time. The time that it is now is difficult for me and my family. We have spent the last year making it work for us because we had little other choice. It is difficult, but we have made it work. It has often meant we were scrambling to get children to where they needed to be when they needed to be there, especially Kyle.

I was not even particularly excited when I was called to be a Cub Scout Den Leader. I will confess to that short coming. Who is thrilled about that? Really thrilled about that? Unless they have already received that true testimony of the Cub Scout program and how important it is and what it does for little boys, who is honestly thrilled about being a Den Leader? I do not know of anyone who is thrilled about it at first. Once they get in there and get acclimated to it, I know plenty of them and I know they would do it again (most of them), but on that initial being asked, they do not want to do it anymore than I did. Of course they may not have been as verbal about how not thrilled they were. What can I say? I was very open about it. I was honest. That is the honest truth. I was not excited. I was not thrilled.

There is a little secret about me. I hate to give it away here, but I suppose there is no better place. I do not like other people’s kids. It is that simple. I like my own kids just fine. I tolerate my nieces and nephews. I am happy to send them home. I just do not want to deal with other people’s kids. The older they are, the easier they are to deal with. The older they are, the better I like them. It really all comes down to my patience level I suppose. I just do not have the patience for other people’s kids and their individual quirks and how they are all different. I just do not want to make exceptions for each kid. I do not think that “sit down” and “be quiet” is too hard for anyone to learn. Obedience is learned behavior. It starts from the time they are very little. As is reverence. Meeting behavior should be as well. I have found that many parents have forgotten this. So no, not thrilled.

I took the challenge, with a reluctant yes. I went home and prayed about it. If this was what the Lord wanted me to do, then He would provide a way for me. After all I knew that “He qualifies those He calls.” I was going to have to have a softened heart to get through this. Somehow my schedule was going to have to get amazingly easy to work. Things were going to have to get easier somehow. They did not, but somehow we made it work. I do not know how we made it all work, but we did. Things just happened the way that “they were supposed to” happen.

Kyle always had enough karate hours even though he was always late to karate. It helped that they had a half hour black belt class after the regularly scheduled karate classes. He was actually racking up hours faster than he was losing them. I left the house before Kyle got home most Thursdays so that I could beat the traffic and not be late to the church building. Waiting for him would make me late. Often Ben would get home from work in time to take him and get him to karate faster than I could. Not always, but sometimes.

At any rate, with them wanting to change the day and time I was okay with that because originally I was told it was on Thursday at that particular time and that was that. I was told maybe we could do earlier. Then not. Earlier does not work for me actually. Later would work for me. It would blend right in with my other evening activities. You would think that earlier would be easier, but unlike the rest of the world, I have a harder time fitting more in the earlier afternoon because I am trying to get kids home from school, homework started, dinner made, and the list goes on. I do not worry about it interfering with my children’s extra-curricular activities because in the “count” this is one of their activities. We line them all of up and we make them all work on the calendar. At least later in the evening, I have back-up and someone else to help make the schedule work. Earlier in the evening, it is just me. Try shuffling between three kids and three different school when there is only one of you and one car to do it with. It is difficult at best. There are days when I can literally spend hours in the car trying to get them all home if any one of them stays after school. So please do not question when I say earlier does not work, I have already tried to squeeze things in. Trust me, it does not work.

Alas, that is not good enough. Of course, I was not asked as a mother and how I felt about it as a mother. You know the “super woman” that wears that invisible cape that gets everything done? Yeah, they forgot to ask that woman her opinion. Instead they asked me as a Cub Scout leader. They forgot to consider my opinion as a mom. Just mom. As a Cub Scout Leader, it does not work earlier. As a mom, guess what? It does not work either.

So yesterday, I canceled Cub Scouts for the Bear Den because when I sent out an email earlier in the week to ask for parent volunteers to fill in for my co-Den Leader who would be out, I did not have much response. See Thursdays are hard for her too. Her son is now in high school and plays football. His football games are on Thursday evenings right when we have Cub Scout Den Meetings. Last night he was supposed to be playing a home game and I get it as a mom, you want to be there for your child when they are doing what they do. I get it. So she went to her son’s football game to cheer him on. I would not be missing my children’s Orchestra Concerts for Cub Scouts so why should she miss football games? She should not. Initially I only got one email response. It happened to be from another mother who also has a high school football player. She would also be unable to help because she would also be attending a highschool football game. That is fair enough. One of the other moms I had already spoken to and she had a good enough excuse with being extremely pregnant. Anyway, it was Wednesday night and I had not heard back from anyone else and Tracy and I were sitting waiting to sit on a Scout Board of Review at Young Mens at the church. It was about 7:00pm. I had not heard anything from any other parent at this point (last checked my email at 5:45pm when I left to take Lance to karate). So she and I decided to just cancel Bears on Thursday night. It came down to the decision that if we cannot get parent participation so we do not have our two-deep leadership, we cannot have a meeting. It is that simple. It is pure principle.

Here is the catch, it gained me (as a mom) absolutely nothing to cancel Cub Scout for the Bears yesterday evening. As a mom, I still had to go out and take my Cub Scout aged son to Cub Scouts. We left at the same time to avoid the traffic. The only difference is that I was not rushing to get my uniform on or load up the car. It was totally relaxed for me. It was kind of nice. We even got to the church 20 minutes early. Yes, we sat in the car for 15 minutes waiting for anyone at all to show up. Sad but true in so many ways.

Before we left I was for the first time able to sit down with Lance and I actually had time to help him with stuff that he needed to do for Cub Scouts before we left. No “bad mom” awards for me last night. Heck, I was living dangerously yesterday I even let him use the hot glue gun by himself. Granted I was sitting at the table with him, but I will be honest with him I was totally enthralled with my web design work on my computer. I was not paying him much attention aside from handing him a new glue stick every once in a while. I was totally living it up. He was completely in shock that I would consider letting him touch the glue gun. I told him, “You will know when you touch the hot parts, so do not touch them.” He is a smart boy. Besides, he needed to get this project done and I was still working on trying to solve this problem I was working on. It was a win-win. He got his “free form recyclables art” project done and I got a few more minutes to work on my web design problem. How could I lose? Well he could burn his finger, but I could do that too.

At any rate, I gained nothing by canceling. I still had to go. I had to show up. I had to take my son. It was different. It was so stress free. It was nice. I have to confess, though, I almost did not know what to do with myself. Almost. It was kind of nice. I went and dropped him off and then went back home and sat down at the table and chatted with my friend Linn Macie, her daughter Allison, and my son Kyle for a few minutes. I even had a snack. I then drove back to the church in the rain. I got there a few minutes early and sat down on the couch in the foyer for about 5 minutes.

Of course I was sad to see that when I went to the room to get Lance, he was the only Wolf there. The only one! Kind of sad actually. There are three of them right now. Both of the other ones have brothers that are Bears.

The thing that bothers me though is that when one of the Wolf leader showed up while we were waiting in the parking lot, she said, “I thought you were not going to be here tonight.” It was a fair statement. I was not going to be there as a leader. Then it hit me, everyone sees me in my leader capacity. They forget me as the mom. I am not seen as a separate entity outside of that “leader” capacity. They look straight past that little boy that is always beside me on Thursday nights. They do not see the very reason that I am doing all of this so willingly. Sure I would do it for any of those other boys, but when it comes down to it and really matters to me it is that little boy.

At the end of the day, I am just a mom. I am mom first. Cub Scout Leader after that.

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