Today I am thankful for Safety Mom.
Nope, that’s not her real name, but I’ve definitely called her that many more times than her real name. Safety Mom was one of my adult leaders in Boy Scouts. I can’t remember her official title, but I can tell you that unofficially she was (is?) Safety Mom. Safety Mom was at pretty much every single Boy Scout outing that I can remember. She was always watching out for us, taking care of us, and making sure we were having an excellent time.
There are a few reasons I am thankful for Safety Mom today. It all starts with a conversation with one of my nephews several weeks ago. He’s in Boy Scouts and at one point he pulled me aside and asked if I knew someone that was one of his leaders. As soon as he described her I just smiled. Yes, I do know her and she was one of the biggest reasons I had a great time in scouting. It was kind of funny, in the moment as a kid of course I appreciated her, but it wasn’t until I had my own boys and helped out a little with scouts (minuscule compared to her volunteer time) that I really appreciated just how much of her time and energy she put into helping scouts. Looking back I can’t even begin to count how many hours she volunteered to help us out on our many adventures. When I start to think about how many years have passed since I was in scouting and realize she’s still there helping it is nothing short of amazing.
One time we were on a winter camp out and were sledding. A couple of my friends and I thought it would be a fun idea to pile onto a sled three scouts high and then go down the huge hill. Being the one on top I saw the tree first and bailed, pretty sure I screamed to alert my friends as I did (whether or not it was to help them out or because I was scared is irrelevant, right?). The friend under me saw it and rolled just in time. The third wasn’t so lucky and crashed sideways into the tree. To be safe, we had to take him to the ER to get checked out. Safety Mom drove, and the three of us were on our way. Everything checked out fine (for the most part) and we were back on our way to camp. The reason I bring up this story is that it was one of the first times I can remember a non-family member actually talking with me like an adult. We shared stories, ideas, dreams, and advice. She was awesome! I’d love to be a fly on the wall to re-live that conversation. There was just something there that made me feel like I was actually maturing. She didn’t water things down or treat me like the kid I was, she treated me with the respect of an adult and I really appreciated that. Kind of funny how random conversation can linger for decades, isn’t it?
So over the past month or so there’ve been several nudges towards this post. My nephew was one, the start of the new scouting season was another. There was also memories of her in my head as I was putting together our den meeting plans for this year and that reminded me of the biggest reason I am thankful for her. Her smile. She was always smiling – always! She was a never ending source of positive energy that made you happy, even in crappy situations. Her passion for scouting and helping us grow was incredible and shown through in everything that she did for us. I use the past tense because of what I remember, but I’d bet anything that she’s still the same way today. Even in our infrequent Facebook conversations I can read the smile on her face. It’s kind of funny, she’s one of those people who’s laugh I can hear crystal clear in my memories. How she was able to help so much and dedicate so much of her time while still being so happy continues to be an inspiration to me as I lead my little den. Regardless of how off track things may occasionally go I can usually think back to a big Safety Mom smile and put my own smile on, remembering that it’s not about me and my plans, it’s about the boys and helping them grow.
Thank you for all that you did and continue to do to help many of us Scouts grow into adulthood. You’re a source of inspiration to us that continues to get passed on to the Scouts and children in our lives. Thank you for sharing so much of your time, energy, passion and smiles with us!