I am a Girl Scout co-leader this year. I didn’t want to be. I’m brutally lazy. I like to lay down at meetings. My body rejects order and organization like a transplanted monkey liver. But there was what Gus calls, “a power vacuum,” and I was the only one to fill it. Then he made some reference to Yugoslavian war politics that I didn’t understand.
I have the little Daisies, my co-leader Tina (who I consider the REAL leader) has the slightly older Brownies.
Oh Tina. My eyes mist just thinking about her. You should see her. She’s just perfect, and not in the bad way. She’s like a real grown up, like a real mom. Most of us Gen Xers have held on to the eye-rolling South Park watching “whatever, dude” personalities we had in our teens. But Tina inhabits maturity. Soft spoken but steely. Hair and make-up always done, but not to excess. Devoted Catholic. Flattering blue jeans and a green Girl Scout T-shirt at every meeting. She used to be an accountant so she knows stuff I don’t. Like how to use a spreadsheet and a calender. The perfect, perfect Girl Scout Mom role model.
And then there is me, my default scowl on my makeup-less face, perpetually sweating and confused. And missing all those little touches.
Tina, “Girls! Hands on your head if you can hear me, please!”
Me: “Guys just shut it. SHUT IT! (under breath but still possibly audible you squeaky little chimpanzees) QUIET!”
For our first event this year, we went to Girl Scout Day at a nearby Pumpkin patch. It was carnage. Maybe like Yugoslavia, I don’t know.
200? 400? Little girls. Squealing, falling in mud, losing their sweaters, asking you to carry six pumpkins so their hands are free to poke rotting ground-fall pears from the orchard.
I have never been able to walk a decent pace, no matter what my age or weight. I’m short, chubby, and had hip dysplasia as a child (much like a prize winning purebred poodle, thank you). My girls kept trying to get purposefully LOST in the corn maze. I mean I know that’s the point but c’mon! I couldn’t keep up with them and eventually planted myself near a central part of the maze and took to screaming “STAY WITH YOUR BUDDY!!!” in random directions.
So you can imagine my pride that I only lost one. And in my defense I had her identical twin accounted for. So naturally it felt like I had the complete passel. Besides she never even knew she’d been misplaced.
I found a single moment of peace huddling next to the goat in the petting barn. He was so calm despite all those sticky little fingers poking his thick bony head through the fencing. Brave little goat, teach me your ways.
Oh I bitch, it’s what I do. But…it felt kind of good, I’ll admit. Sitting down my littlest Daisy who was starting to cry, asking her opinion on favorite types of candy, and making her forget she was sad. The cozy maternity of lining up my ten little girls like little ducklings, calling them all sweetie and hon. And hearing each one whisper a shy, instinctual “thank you” to the lady who gave out the donuts.
So I can do this. But it’ll be done my way. That means brief and constant episodes of indignation and incredulation (“I just told you not to try the chicken feed. Three seconds ago, I said ‘don’t lick the chicken feed.'”) and copious, copious errors.