#4 is doing his first Service Project today. To earn each rank in Boy Scouts, he needs to do some kind of service project. I am assuming with each consecutive rank the project gets more involved. Today, since he’s working on his Tenderfoot Rank, it’s not a terribly complicated thing.
The Special Olympics for this region is being held this weekend. He is going to be working there, doing whatever they put him to work doing. It might be serving up food, it might be running errands. Who knows? His job is to show up and do whatever they ask him to.
It’s kind of amazing seeing this all unfold. Not just the joining the Scouts thing, but knowing with confidence that I can drop him off at Mill Creek with a phone and $10 (for food) in his pocket and he will do just as he’s asked. He’s not a little kid anymore. He’s smart, savvy and confident, practically a teen. There’s so much he knows how to do now. He can build a fire, assemble a hamburger for a customer and count out their change…it’s mind boggling.
I look back and 6 years (just 6 years!) ago he was this little knotling of a child, practically a baby, in overalls and high top sneakers, playing with a tonka truck, zooming it all over the yard and then sweetly asking for a popsicle. Now he’s closer to being a man than a child, wearing a uniform, doing community service projects… It warms my heart and scares me, all at the same time.
Earlier this morning I asked if he knew what the Special Olympics were all about. He said yes, that it was sporting events for mentally handicapped people. I asked how he felt about being around a whole bunch of people who were mentally handicapped (alot of people would be uncomfortable) and he said he was fine with it, that one of his friends at his old school was in the “Special” class, and then he explained if you treat them like regular people, they love that and really, they are kind of like ‘normal’, they just take longer to catch onto some things. He explained that someimes it’s hard to understand what they’re saying, but they’re all there to have a good time and he wanted to make sure he did his part to make it happen.
How on EARTH did this kid get so wise???
*a little bit later*
Ok, I took him there…unaware that it was the State Competition and there are thousands of people there! He was/is excited, and we found the place he was told to be. Which was inhabited by a couple of sororities from the local university. Y’know…young ladies of the physically attractive and enthusiastic type. So he was like…”Mom. I’ve got this handled. You can go now. Goodbye Mom. You Can Go Now.” and I’m all “but you haven’t found the guy you called yet…” and he’s like “Mom. I can handle this. You Can GO NOW. GOODBYE.” and a couple of the lovely young ladies were saying “oh we’ll make sure he finds the guy, we’ll take care of him, we just love a man in uniform” and he’s smirking “GOODBYE MOM.”
*snort* The kid’s 11. He still plays with legos and matchbox cars. “GOODBYE MOM” indeed.
*edited to add:*
Ok he called at 1, and said they were through with needing him. When we found him he was busy
flirting talking to a group of young ladies who all said “Oh bye (#4)! it sure was fun working with you” etc and he was smiling like a…hm….like an 11 yr old almost-man who’d just spent the last 4 hours in the company of 27 attractive young women. “It was fun!” he said. “They’d fill up popcorn boxes and then I’d go all over the park selling them” However, even after all that, I think the bit he was most excited about was the strange sticky blue frog he’d won in a game. Kids!