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Year of First Lasts.

Once again, the year of first lasts.

Last field day with Justin.

Last IEP meeting for Justin.

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Last graduation for Justin, at which I will be a blubbering mess.

But there are first lasts for Zach too, as he approaches aging out of Boy Scouts in February.

Last month it was his last Klondike. A Boy Scout event where troops build their own sleds, travel to seven different “towns”, and answer questions and accomplish tasks.

This year they did it for six consecutive hours in a bone-chilling downpour.

I was there too. Every year a number of grown Boy Scout leaders tolerate me as we head into the woods to officiate.

There is usually a fire, although not this year. The site is aptly named Turkey Swamp, as it truly was during the deluge.

There is always great food, and better conversation.

At one point in the day, perhaps my favorite, men always come around with a bag of candy. And I mean good candy, like Reeses Peanut Butter Cup good candy.

My friends, particularly those from high school who know me as a girly-girly, find it intensely amusing that annually I willingly spend a cold day in the woods with a bunch of men (and sometimes the occasional woman).

I enjoy it immensely.

But the highlight of my day was this.

After we returned to the firehouse, and my son helped unpack the gear, he ran to our car and dove in from the tempest.

I asked him how it went. Given that a handful of years ago he would have been begging me to take him home after half an hour, I wasn’t sure what his response would be.

Instead, I got a “best one ever, because it was the hardest.”

Because that’s what scouting does.

It provides challenges that develop problem-solving skills.

It teaches resilience and self-advocating in a way my generation of parenting can never hope to accomplish for our sons and daughters.

It encourages bonds of friendship to be forged in fire, after learning how to build said fire, that will sustain the test of adulthood, and all its distractions.

It remains one of the best choices of activities I ever sought out for Zach.

Scouting may not be everybody’s cup of tea, or other scout-approved non-alcoholic beverage.

But it helped my son become the incredible almost-man he is today in indelible, immeasurable, permanent ways.

If you’re considering it for your child (and girls are now welcome too!), just remember.

Be prepared.

In a few years, you will be astounded at what they can accomplish.

For more on my family visit my blog at

Follow me on Facebook at Autism Mommy-Therapist


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