Dear Cub Scout Leader Guy,
Hi. I know were a week late signing up for this whole shindig. Sorry about that--I'm usually pretty crazy about details, and being on time, and following the rules and stuff. You'll probably learn that the hard way, so strap in.
But things happened, tonight was our first pack meeting, and I know you were a little blindsided. True, there were other siblings tagging along on this adventure, but somehow I think you were just a tiny bit unprepared for Little C. See, what you saw as just another field trip to a fire station was, in reality, sort of this mom's definition of the third circle of Hades.
I really, really wanted this for Big C. He's great with his brother, really, but he deserves his own space. As heartbreaking as it is for me to explain to Little C that this is something his brother is doing without him...well, I know Big C needs it. Time with his friend, B, time (somewhat) away from my own neurotic presence...time to just be Big C, instead of Little C's big brother.
That whole independence thing kinda went out the window when circumstances dictated that I'd have to bring Little C tonight. It wasn't planned, really, and to be honest, I was dreading the drama of leaving him behind. Things worked out the way they did, though, and so he came. To a fire station. Where there are lots of loud things, and also lots of overwhelmingly exciting things. Too, lots of children swarming in different directions, and all dressed in the same colored clothing. (Can we talk about that later? Because really, maybe that could use some reconsideration).
Normally, Mr. Cub Scout Leader Guy, I would be right there with you. I'd chat, and I'd ask questions, and I'd listen to your patiently explained instructions with a smile on my face. But when we're in a fire station, with loud noises that could sound omigod-any-second-now, and my kid is so excited about the real life fire truck right there in front of him that he can't decide between omigod-noises-are-scary and omigod-firetrucks-are-awesome-can-I-hug-it-right-now, well...I get an little on edge.
I'm sorry I'm just murmuring vague agreements and nodding distractedly at you, but you see--inside I'm constantly formulating disaster relief plans. If he screams when the siren goes off, I am ready to snatch him up like a maniacal linebacker and run for the nearest doorway. Would the one to the right be best? Or the one behind us? What would cause the least amount of distraction? By the time I've worked out that plan, he has risen to his feet while I'm distracted, and his hands are flapping happily. I can tell by the way that he's eyeing the fire suit that he's decided it's completely acceptable to get up during your little talk and go investigate it.
Normally, he's very good at reading social cues and listening to directions, but there's just too much happening right now. At my gesture, he returns to his seated position on the designated line next to the well-behaved siblings, but his hands are hovering over his ears again, and I can tell that the possibility of sudden noises has re-occurred to him. I know I should be beaming proudly at Big C right now, like all of the other parents surrounding me, but I am incapable of anything except shifting nervously from foot to foot, wondering how much longer this will last.
We head out to investigate the truck, and I breathe a sigh of relief thinking, Great. Open space. They can walk around now, and he doesn't have to be still and quiet. The relief is short-lived, though, as he darts from end to end, first investigating the hood, then the bumper, then back again. All while cars are periodically cruising through the parking lot, by the way.
I alternate between pinning Little C down to walk him back to where he's *supposed* to be, and eyeing Big C in an attempt to ensure manners are being observed. Fortunately, he is behaving, and I relax just in time for your partner to promise Little C solemnly that if he can find the key to the fire truck, he can drive it. When she winks at me as he scampers off, confiding that there is no key to the fire truck, I don't have the heart to explain that he thinks too literally to get the joke. I'm sorry I can't quite concentrate when you explain about the various fees involved, but I'm too busy contemplating how much hysteria would ensue if I started crying at this point.
When the meeting is over, Big C is sweaty, happy, and oblivious...and me? I'm just tired. We exchange information and confirm plans for the next event. I half-heartedly attempt an explanation, and you are very nice, but obviously a little lost.
Um, better luck next time?