We deserve badges


I’ve been quiet lately. A baby was born. Winter’s chill. A February where grief and great joy mixed and mingled into a cocktail of feels. Several times in this changling season, I’ve thought I’d earned a gold or silver star … a merit badge like the scouts award their faithful. Then I ran across the photo above of Girl Scout badges I’d found at Tulsa’s Gathering Place. And an idea took root.

Below are a few adult merit badges inspired by those pictured above.

Cup of coffee: remembered to compost the grounds-YAY! (Forgot to put new grounds in the Mr. Coffee. So there’s that.)

Voodoo doll: did not resort to using voodoo when rudeness prevailed. Nor did I respond in kind. For the win. (I may have thought a few snappy retorts, but that only leads to more barriers in communication, right?)

Keys: lost my keys late one bitterly cold windy night while walking the pup. Did not freak out. Decided I needed the extra steps and ran the route again. And then once more with feeling until I found the key and fob. Added a heavy jangly bell so I’d be alerted the next time my keys made a break for it.

Yellow foot badge: rocked my steps that cold night. Reveled in the buzzy celebration my watch makes each time I hit that target. Would have missed it had I not dropped the keys. Bonus: the air was so crisp that the stars shone especially clear that night.

Pets: Izzy is still among us. Thriving. And several plants are too including the geraniums that I am overwintering. This is great.

Books: Knocked out several books this year including the first quarter’s selection for the book club at work. And I liked it. I should get two of badges for this.

Sewing (pending): Going to reinforce the buttons on my new late-in-season snappy lined jacket. Just knowing I’m going to do this makes me happy and all adulty.

Boiling kettle: Since January, I have both made meals twice a week that lasted at least through a lunch or two during the week AND washed dishes at least three times a week. (Don’t judge.) And now that I am finding it difficult to find my favorite peanut butter filled/peanut butter flavored protein CLIF bars, I am being even more thoughtful about cooking, because I know I’d eat those protein bars for every meal if I could. Cooking is not my favorite and only with a few people do I enjoy it. As a gift shared.

Treasure box: last fall and thanks to my friend, B, I learned a fairly easy way to budget and it’s working. January saw a surplus, which I used in February to buy a sweet wooden rocking chair … that does not fit in my apartment, for a baby that will likely be toddling about before she comes in contact with said chair. Oh. And a rug in the local Pier 1 that was closing. It’ll look great in the home I eventually invest in. The baby and her people – our people – are the treasure. The budget is the vehicle to find a home to one day fill with the treasured people.

Running girls: I am not sure I’ll be running consistently soon, but I am walking, hiking, yogaing and adventuring. Even rode my bike to yoga last Sunday before the early spring gales came sweeping down the plains. And I am inviting people to go. Not worrying about whether they can go do something (meet for cocktails or clamber along river trails). This is a brave mindset that I had lost while in Houston. It’s coming back. I’m coming back.

Chalet: House hunting. I’ve been looking, refining what I like and hope for, getting my credit run and applying for loan pre-approvals, adjusting my budget and expectations, asking for help and letting go of my timeline. I still have over a year on my rental lease and though I hope for a merry home where I can bend over without Izzy always being close enough to launch a Christmas goose, we are fine here. My rocking chair is safely in Marcia’s garage attic. (I must have asked for patience to balance tenacity at some time.)

Footprints: February was hard. I dealt with a breaking grief from learning in December that the people who were given me knowingly chose not to protect me or my siblings in the face of the most grievous and sustained of harms. When the numbness of that shrill revelation subsided in January, their words broke something in me for good. For good. I have been trying to be good enough, kind enough, hard-working and special enough, lovely and sweet enough, agreeable, creative and brilliant enough for two extra people – by their own words and admission – who don’t deserve my worst, let alone my best. Finally, I realized that I could not be enough for two ciphers and myself. It cannot be done. It is not my job. I forgave them that day in December and left footprints. They will have to endure the reality of their decisions. I no longer will.

Since then, I heard myself confidently say after a particularly rude encounter … to myself, “I am valuable. Because I say so.” These are footprints I leave behind in my shaking bunny slippers. Leading somewhere unencumbered by another’s shame and more towards come-what-may. I take comfort in knowing I am committed to dealing with what life brings and making the best of it. Maybe even buying a gorgeous marked-way-down rug and a rocking chair as a reminder of a hopeful future born in the present.

What merit badges have you earned lately? You know, once you earn them, they cannot be taken away. They are yours forever to challenge, inspire, celebrate and remind you of your unfolding story. Your awesomeness of heart and mind and action.

Because sometimes we need to be reminded of where we’ve been and who we are and the value of a good troop of pals and people who love us and allow us to love them.

And if badges or gold stars aren’t your thing, may you find the energizing oomph you need to remind you of you. You are valuable. Because I say so.


We don’t need no stinkin badges a la Blazing Saddles.

Adult merit badges are a thing. Check this out.

Troop Zero (don’t miss Viola Davis in this movie and the final scene might fill you with wonder, too.)

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