This afternoon marks Youngest’s final Blue-Gold Banquet as a cub scout, the one at which he formally leaves because he’s now too old. He has chosen to move on to boy scouts and part of the ceremony will involve him and his four compatriots officially becoming members of different troops and when he crosses that bridge, ten years of cub scouting for the PracticalDad family will be finished. Raising kids is a forest-for-the-trees experience except for the moments when you reach a ridge that permits you to view you to see where you are on the journey, providing a panoramic view of where we’ve been with the kids and where we still need to go.
As the literal and figurative greybeard for this particular pack, I’ve taken on much and have planned the actual ceremony; walking through the ceremony has struck me as to the passage of time. When we began this process, Eldest was in elementary school and herself a girl scout. Middle began scouting in the first grade and Youngest was only a baby in Mom’s arms. What I’ll see this afternoon is Eldest back from college as a surprise for Youngest, and Middle in the audience as a high school student. Another trail from the road is circling back onto itself, closing the loop and a look back from the ridge reveals any number of looped trails that we’ve encountered and passed. Looking ahead shows more valleys with the road but the road itself is changing as the kids continue to age, grow and even mature into adults.
You don’t realize the passage of time and how things change until you reach those ridgelines when the trees have thinned out for a short period. When you do reach that point, take a few moments to pause and appreciate both what you’ve had as well as what you have.
Then plunge down the hill and back into the forest amidst the trees.