I have a hard time knowing when to try to be amazing and when to just do ENOUGH. Last night was the Cub Scouts' annual Blue and Gold Banquet. I've been to a couple of these, but I've never been a den leader before so I've never really paid attention to what they looked like or noticed all the details of the "behind the scenes" efforts. There's a lot more to those things than I ever realized. And I wasn't even in charge of this one!
Early last month, the entire Cub Committee divided up responsibilities and I took TABLE DECORATIONS and COOKIES. I really thought it would be a breeze to have the Webelos make little robots that could double as both Craftsman requirements as well as decorations for the banquet. And I already know I can make sugar cookies in my sleep. Seriously, I think I could actually do that. So how hard could it be to get a few tin foil robots together and blast out several dozen sugar cookies. Easy peasy, right?
Somehow the reality of it all is never easy peasy. I don't know why that is. Do you think it's just me or does everyone feel that way? And I don't know why it is that everything turns into a small tornado on the day of an event. Well, I do kinda know why that is. I am the world's biggest procrastinator. I pretend to prepare for stuff, but I leave a lot of stuff for the day of. And PROCRASTINATION = TORNADOES.
Yesterday, I agreed to meet the Cub Committee Chair (is that even what she is? I'm not sure) at the church at 10:00 in the morning to decorate for the banquet. I planned to leave at exactly 9:55 which would get me there right at 10:00…except...recyclables that have been barely glued together by 10 year old boys and precariously perched into strange robot forms are not as portable as plain old recyclables. It took me 15 minutes to load the Jeep. So I was already late…
My vision of the "set up" went like this…I will carry in the robots from my car, put table cloths on the tables, set the robots in the middle, and then go to lunch with a friend. Nope. My 10:30 target exit time came and went while we hauled stacks of tables and chairs out from under the stage in the gym and set them up. I honestly have never done that in my life. I just assumed everyone's husbands were responsible for tables and chairs. Apparently not. Please don't tell Craig that I'm ridiculously spoiled and sheltered. I don't think he knows.
We set up 9 round tables for seating and three long tables for food. And then I got to the part where I was finally able to put table cloths on them and select the perfect robot home for each of the boys' creations. They looked a little sparse to me, so I sprinkled some nuts and bolts that I had fished out of Craig's tool boxes and brought with me.
At that point, I was technically finished with my part of the banquet, except for the cookies which were still at home and not quite ready. But as I looked around the room, I wondered if we needed MORE. More what? I don't really know. More flash? More robots? More inventions? More tin foil?? That's the point where my mind starts to wander and the regret sets in for not starting things earlier. If only I had started in January when I found out about this, I could have made a LIFE SIZED robot that could have greeted the boys at the door! If only I had started last week, I could have wrapped the entire gym in tin foil and hung giant nuts and bolts from the ceiling! ugh…I have a serious problem.
Fortunately time was not on my side for any grand plans and I had completely booked the rest of my afternoon with a lunch date and another batch of cookies still left to make.
In less than two hours I made 4 dozen robots and threw in an extra 2 dozen...those are gears, not grey flowers...because what if one of the boys didn't want to decorate a robot? What if someone just wanted to eat an already frosted cookie? And I think in the past, they usually just buy a giant sheet cake from Costco for dessert and what if the adults were disappointed that they would have to prepare their own dessert this time?? I bought frosting instead of making my own, but I decided that I didn't want it to just be plain white, so I scrounged through my food coloring and mixed like a mad chemist to get the perfect shades of bright, bold, BOY colors! Except gears can't be frosted with bright colors or they might be mistaken for flowers, so I mixed up a half batch of royal icing and tried desperately to make it look like a very industrial, very non-floral, metallic grey. Instead, I got that color up there.
Am I making your head spin yet? Wait there's more...
I realized at 5:15 that the boys might not know what to DO with the unfrosted cookies and that I should have made a poster or a prototype or something. EEK! I hurried and stuffed my hair in a clippy and put on my Scout uniform which I still do not love and absolutely dread putting on once a week. Even sparkly earrings and lipgloss can't make that thing look feminine. And I left the poster to Emma who was very capable and more than willing to help me get it done. No flashing lights, no fancy details, just the necessary information combined with a few juice box robots to make it interesting.
McKay, Emma and I loaded all that stuff into the car…posters, cookies, frosting, trays, my camera, and whatever else I could think of, and drove to the church for our 6:00 call time. We got there at 6:10.
The point of all that madness is not to prove to you that I'm a lunatic, although I probably did do a pretty good job of that. The point is that all of the craziness and time spent worrying yesterday was completely unnecessary. The boys absolutely loved the night, and therefore, the parents and the leaders loved the night. Other people filled in the gaps that I thought I had left out. And the evening was a huge success.
Emma and a few of the other "big sisters" who came were such a huge help all night long. They served food, made sure little hands didn't reach for their own pickles, helped younger kids build burgers, and then rationed out frosting for the cookies. I love those girls so much. The food portions of the evening would have been complete chaos without them.
The lesson I keep learning over and over in my time here on earth is that less is ENOUGH. Little boys don't miss things like LIFE SIZED robots, and no one was expecting the room to be wrapped in tin foil. Even the women don't need or expect all that fluff for RS meetings. A grand ice sculpture can never substitute for a great spiritual message and time to connect with sisters. The church doesn't have to be perfect. My house doesn't have to be perfect. The food doesn't have to be perfect or even completely ready when friends arrive. People prefer comfort and warmth and a relaxed hostess over perfection, I've found.
I am so grateful to be involved in Cub Scouts for a short time. There are lessons to be learned here. It is a huge blessing to get to work on all these requirements with McKay for the next few months and to see what actually goes on behind all these Cub Scouts' scenes. I am immensely grateful for all the people who have worked quietly and in unspectacular, but much needed ways over the years to bring together things like Blue and Gold banquets and Pinewood Derbys and Rain Gutter Regattas. I had no idea how many hands it takes to efficiently organize a little pack of Cub Scouts.