Lend a Hand Merit Badge

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 4,945 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—6,765 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

Intermediate Level

For this week’s Each Other/Land a Hand to Families Merit Badge, I traveled to Florida to see my Gramma Barbie. Well, I was going anyway, but an opportunity to earn another badge kind of presented itself. (What? I’m not addicted! I can stop anytime I want to. Is there a 12-Step Program for Badge Lovers?) Gramma broke her hip recently and could use a little help from her favorite granddaughter.

My gramma is a real get-up-and-go kinda girl, so I knew this weekend wasn’t going to be a walk in the park for either of us. She is more the serve-others type, not the sit-still-and-boss-your-granddaughter-around type, so I figured we both had our work cut out for us.

(Gramma could seriously use the Relaxation Merit Badge).

Still, knowing all this and surviving this were two very different things.

Gramma had already had her surgery when I arrived, had been released from the hospital, and was in a fine mood when I arrived. And by a fine mood, I mean she was stir crazy, going nuts, and fighting off a bad case of cabin fever. Just cleaning her house and plugging a movie in for her was not going to do it. I may have been over my head.

I started with making her some sweet tea. This I was prepared for. Most grammas like their sweet tea, and I was determined to change a few of her bad eating habits when I was there, so I had smuggled in some organic, loose-leaf Assam and a jar of my favorite local honey. Turns out, I was naïve. I had to wean her off her Lipton and a pound a sugar per glass, g r a d u a l l y. I started by diluting hers little by little with my homemade brew, until she was drinking half-and-half and none the wiser. I was feeling pretty sneaky, but since I was pretty sure I was saving her from a sugar coma, I smothered the guilty feeling with logic (and a cookie).


We spent some good time together after I encouraged her to quit climbing the walls. I had brought along my Merit Badges, and she oohed and ahhed over them quite appropriately. We played some board games, went through some photo albums (No wonder she broke her hip; you should see pictures of her cheerleading days. The woman takes double-jointed to a whole new—painful—level.) and she walked me through her world-famous pie crust recipe. And by walked me through, I mean shouted at me from the living room while I feverishly rolled out sticky pieces of dough. Thanks goodness there isn’t a Pie Crust Merit Badge, because I’d have to retire early.

After the pie crust debacle, I went grocery shopping for Gramma. You should see some of the not-so-subtle replacements I snuck into her bags. I replaced her diet soda with sparkling water and juice, ditched the Jello boxes for fresh fruit and real whipped cream, and put back the TV dinners for a week’s worth of homemade casseroles I plan to leave her with. I don’t recommend being this sneaky with just anyone, but grammas have GOT to love you, you know?

I should know.

I’m still totally her favorite.


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