In fourth grade. Paul Z. sat behind me. He was a Boy Scout, and on Tuesdays, he was allowed to wear his blue and gold Boy Scout shirt instead of his school uniform. That shirt was more than just a shirt to my nine-year-old brain. It stood for all the outdoor adventures that a fourth grader could imagine. I used to stare at that shirt and picture Paul and the other scouts on camping trips, deer eating out their hands, owls perching overhead, and everyone sitting around a campfire telling ghost stories. I had to have a shirt like his and everything that went with it. So, I convinced my stepmom to take me to a Boy Scout meeting. Ten minutes into it, my heart was thumping. I leaned over and whispered, “I don’t want to do this. Can we go?” I don’t know what I would have done in her shoes, but she didn’t question me. She just said, “Okay.” We got up and walked out, and as we did, I remember feeling relieved and ashamed, as if I’d made them stop the roller coaster and let me off because I was too scared. I’m not sure why I panicked, but I was never a joiner. In the car, I asked my stepmom if she was mad. She said no, that it hadn’t looked very fun, and then she changed the subject. There was no guilt or talk of trying again, and my shame drained away, leaving only relief. I’m sure some people would say that she should have made me tough it out, that I would’ve gotten over my fear, and that I would’ve gained a great deal from being a scout, but I know me. I wouldn’t have liked the Boy Scouts – the structure, the meetings – I would’ve been miserable. Did my stepmom know that? I think she did, and it makes me wonder about me and my own kid. In a similar situation, I can see myself saying, “No. They’re just scared. This will be good for them. Even if they’re scared now, they need to tough it out.” My stepmom didn’t do that, and she was right. I hope that when the time comes, I’ll know when to push and when to stand back.
Well, we thought labor was coming tonight, but so far, the baby is staying put.
6 days (give or take) until baby.