Before the ceremony a couple of weeks ago I asked the Eagle candidates and their parents to step into a side room for a minute.
I hand each family a velvet covered box.
“We’ll have mom practice pinning the Eagle medal on their son’s left pocket flap first” I announce.
Three moms pick up an Eagle medal and pin it on their son.
“It’s not as easy as it looks, is it?” one laughs as her husband bends down to pick up a fumbled pin back off the carpet.
“No, it isn’t,” I reply “that’s why we have this little rehearsal.”
Not as easy as it looks? That’s an understatement.
The years that led up to this moment started when a little boy came home excitedly talking about something called Cub Scouts.
From that point on it was a blur of den meetings, pack meetings, overnights and trips. A tear wiped away as that little boy stood on a stage and got his first badge, and his second, and his tenth. All of them have to be sewn somewhere, but before too long he’d outgrown his shirt and they all had to be sewn on again.
Boy Scouts? Camping? When are they going? Where is this happening? What will they be doing? You have to get food for how many? This weekend!?
It seemed like months passed rather than years and that little boy grew up. Now he tramps through the house in muddy boots, reeking of campfire and tosses a backpack full of clean clothes he never wore on the kitchen floor before he opens the fridge.
Sure there have been arguments, disappointments, fears and doubts; but there have moments of pride, moments of amazement, (He did what? How come I can’t get him to do that at home!?), and lots of love.
Somehow we made it through, somewhere along a little boy grew into this person standing here, taller than his mother, and she is pinning an Eagle medal on his shirt.
“If you look there’s a pin for dad, we’ll have the Scout pin that on dad next” I continue, and there’s a little more fumbling around and a nervous laugh or two.
“We save the best for last,” I say (there’s always a catch in my voice when I do),” There’s a pin for mom too.”
Within the next hour there will be nervous smiles and a few tears as the moment approaches. We’ll all stand on a stage and a big lanky kid will haltingly pin a small token of his appreciation, of our appreciation, on his mother. Then, to her amazement, in spite of the fact that his friends are looking on, he’ll give her a hug and a kiss and say; ‘Thanks mom”.
From all the Scouting sons out there: thanks mom! Happy Mother’s Day!