Saturday, February 26, 2011


Stitch is asleep. This is what has become our Saturday ritual; We watch bad movies on TV until he falls asleep on the sofa, and tomorrow morning we all sleep as late as we want. I was sewing patches as he was drifting off.

"Stitch, there's not enough room," I was cramming them on, knowing there were two more in this particular set still to fit.
"Yes there is."
"Barely. Are you sure you want all these on here?"

I got up to Basic 4 when I realized he was out completely. That's okay, I put some Neosporin on his ice kiss from the day, as he wouldn't tolerate that awake.

I was suddenly awash with memories of endlessly sewing patches, all the patches I earned from Juniors, Cadet and Senior scouting. I was never a Brownie, I started off in that hideous green. I understand why he likes these. I still have my patches. Most of them are at home Down South, but some of them are here. I have big ones, rare ones, the "why did we do this" ones like the Cosmetology Badge (Remember the Plum Lipstick?) and the "this was impossible" badges like the Knot Tying, and the sheepshank that took me days to figure out. (Everyone laughs at knot tying. It's knot funny. Sorry.) Some of them represented an evening's worth of activities, but most of them were days or weeks of work.

Some of them were blood, sweat and tears. The Red Cross Canoeing Badge especially. I walked around with my hair wet for two weeks, and I swear that me and my pillow were mildewing as the group went from Shower to Cove to Shower to Pool to Shower in 100% humidity. Me and my partner swam to shore as she was crying, "There's a jellyfish in my swimsuit!" Everyone had six inch bruises on their thighs, from dragging themselves back into canoes from the middle of deep water. No easy entries. We all lost weight, all sunburned, all with biceps of iron and we were misery incarnate by the end of it. Until we got that patch. Then we were singing "Make New Friends" in perfect three part harmony.

Stitch has seen my patches, and he asked for them. I said no. "These are my patches. If you want patches, you need to earn your own. That's how patches work." Stitch set his jaw a bit and walked off, angry with me for the moment, but clamoring for his skating patches all the more the next day. Today, he got his set of patches and it was priceless. I've run some patch awards ceremonies and this beat all of them, possibly because it was my own kid, but it's always great to see a big goal achieved.

Looking at Stitch, with his cheek red and knees bruised, I get it. I get it and I'm glad he does, too. So many kids don't. Before I go off on a "Kids Today" rant, let me just say, the things in life that you care about most are hard. Just that little swatch of something that you wear that says, "Yeah, I did it," is powerful. More than people realize.

Today at Rink of the Damned, there were two boys running on the outside of the boards, pointing and laughing at anyone who fell. They were not skating. This infuriated me. You think it's so easy? You do it. Until you do it, Shut Up. This goes for Parents, too. Until you can do it; Shut. Up.

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