Tuesday, 15 September 2009
My husband and I have been trying to engage our son in Cub Scouts for the past two years. Sometimes we think we are making progress, and other times, like today, we ask ourselves What were we thinking? Everyone involved with the den – the scoutmaster, his wife (a parent educator), the scouts and the other parents have bent over backward to support us, so we continue to have high hopes that Connor will find a place to develop friendships with peers.
This afternoon’s festivities were supposed to include a ceremony whereby our son and the other scouts were to graduate to Bear Cub status. Connor had finished his requirements ages ago, and we planned carefully to ensure that the event would be successful. We decided to arrive a little later to avoid the pre-ceremony commotion that always precedes a Pack meeting. We gave Connor advanced notice of how the ceremony would be followed by a picnic and then a hayride, and we also agreed to allow him to take off his scouting uniform and replace it with his customary pull-on pants and tag-less, button-less shirt, immediately after the ceremony was finished.
Perhaps it was the garage sale the day before, or perhaps unstructured activity just isn’t in the stars right now, but for whatever the reason, Connor took one look at the picnic area and another look at the playground where other scouts were playing noisily on a life-sized pirate ship, and decided to go home. NOW. And so back home we went.
We’ve left the scene hundreds of times before, forestalling many other social outings that were supposed to be fun, but for Connor, were torture. Still, I really thought he was ready for this one. And I blamed myself, Should we have arrived earlier rather than later? Timing is so important for these things. Should I have forced Connor to stay and accept responsibility? Perhaps I should’ve signed him up for that social skills course last summer, instead of waiting for next summer as planned. Maybe he’d be further along socially if he weren’t an only child. Maybe he doesn’t feel welcome or worthy because he hasn’t been able practice conversation skills with a sibling.
When we came home, I started preparing dinner. Before I knew it, I began to cry. I was failing my son. So I hid my tears the best I could behind a simmering pot of spaghetti, Connor’s favorite Sunday dish. But Connor doesn’t miss a thing. As I was sniffling around the kitchen, Connor came up to me and said, “Don’t Cry, Mom. I’m With You.” I felt as though I was staring into the eyes of Christ himself. My petty worries were meaningless. My son knew better than anyone else his difficulties, his travails, and yet, as he told me in his next sentence “Mom, I’m happy. Don’t worry so much.”