Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Mother's Intuition

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.


  1. I would say that you had an awesome stepmother who was in tune with you. Much to be thankful for!
    As for children's activities, I always encouraged mine to be involved (even to extremes) as long as it was fun. As soon as it was not fun, a chore, a burden, it was time to stop.
    Some children will explore many things; others will latch on to one passion to the exclusion of all else--maybe to mastery and excellence! The joy of discovery awaits you!

  2. Beautiful story.

    On Veteran's Day, Carter still had preschool and I secretly was looking forward to playing hooky whick I felt a little conflicted about. I decided to just ask him if he wanted me to take him to school. When he responded with a definitive, "Yes." I did my best to keep my mouth shut and let it be. I would have loved to skip out, but it was also nice to see him go to school with confidence and leave at the end with joy to see us.
    All those little decisions and we never know for certain to which end they will come.

  3. Stumbled across your blog randomly a week or so ago. We are still back at 28 weeks - but enjoying the posts!

    Good luck with everything!

  4. That's always a tough call Bill, when to push a little, and when to just 'let it go' and let them decide. I think your stepmom knew you well...and now you're one of the best "boy scouts" I know! :) Noel

  5. Anne - I like that philosphy - fun has to be the key word. I just don't know if I'm cut out to be a "soccer dad"! Maybe I'll surprise myself.

    Amy - Good for you! how come his preschool was open on Veteran's day?

    Lindsay - Love your web page - and good luck - I'll be following you!

    Noel - Thanks! I wonder how I'll feel if I have a son and he wants to join the scouts...

  6. Hey, Bill. I don't know for sure why it was open. The general rule is that if EA schools are closed, so is preschool. I thought maybe it had to do with missing school on Thanksgiving, and trying not to mess with the kids' routine too much in the same month. I dunno...