I am not a crafty mom. I do not make ceramics or embroidered
pillows. When buttons fall off shirts, I am forced to take them to
the dry cleaners for repair. Glitter has never once entered my
So when my son Daniel arrived from school with a four-page
instruction sheet this week detailing his last project of the year,
I reviewed the assignment: "Design and Build a Roman Ship."
A ROMAN FREAKING SHIP.
There were exacting guidelines on how the stern and bow were to
be crafted. Multiple sails were required. Best of all? The teacher
expected the thing to float. I couldn't help but think she was
confusing the parents and children with James Cameron.
My ability to assist on these assignments is zilch. I possess no
working knowledge of metrics or engineering. I do not know how fast
glue dries. I can't even make sense of rudimentary instructions
once they get past "This Side in English."
My talents lie elsewhere. I work with the boys on music and
chess. I can schedule a packed day of carpools, sports, and
orthodontist appointments like no other. Laundry is executed and
choreographed to glorious perfection so as not to waste a single
moment between loads.
But trying to build the Eiffel Tower out of pipe cleaners or a
scale model of the John Hancock using matchsticks?
I got nothing.
It wasn't like I was unwilling to provide some aid. I did buy
Daniel Popsicle sticks. I covered the table in newspaper. I even
offered a bottle of wood glue and wished him well.
Then I started another load of laundry.
I fully expect to spend years walking into the gym at school
fairs knowing my boys' projects are probably hidden behind the
volleyball rack. They will be considered unsightly due to the
overzealous use of duct tape. They will exist in complete
opposition to the directives, imperatives, and very purpose of the
No, the Walsh Family will not be winning awards for a working
model of the old Chicago trolley system or the reverse engineering
of the Chicago River.
But that's OK.
Because I really don't believe in a world where every parent
deserves a trophy for everything.
But I do believe in a world where little boys learn to
appreciate the immense power of duct tape.
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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