Right now DD2 is in second grade, and working on her Amazon project. She has picked the Amazon River Dolphin (for very important reasons, like the fact that its pink). Her report packet is completed, her pictures are taped in place, and her diorama is done. She did 95% of the work herself, so it's safe to say it's not going to be the "prettiest" project out there, but it will be her own work. She will proudly turn it in tomorrow.
Back up three years. DD1 was in second grade when my mother died. Also working on her Amazon project. She had chosen the three toed sloth, and had worked a little on her report... but that year they HAD to have a diorama - because it was a science fair year. Their completed projects were due Friday, May 2nd that year. I remember it clearly - because my mother's funeral was Wednesday April 30th, and with all the visiting my mom in the hospital and then the ICU, not sleeping, losing our mom on April 27th, funeral arrangements, family flying in, and general chaos of that month I completely forgot about the diorama portion of the project until late in the day of mom's funeral. At which point I knew that my daughter would not be doing the work - I would. I looked over at my sister-in-law, an elementary school teacher, and said, "Oh Crap... what am I going to do?" She looked me in the eye and said, "Get a shoe box and some brown paint... and tomorrow let DD1 paint the inside of the box. Then, have her find a picture of a sloth on the internet. After she goes to bed, cut the sloth out, glue it to the back wall of the shoe box and hot glue all kinds of leaves and stuff from Michael's in front of it. Make sure its messy and they'll never suspect a thing."
May 1st 2008 was a day that I broke a big rule I had set for myself as a parent. I wasn't going to be the mom who's kid turned in the most beautiful projects - even if it killed me with it's awkwardness - because I was going to make my kids do their own work.
And then I got caught up in real life, and the rug got yanked out from beneath my feet, and I - without a second thought - did 95% of that diorama and lied to the teacher about it. And told my daughter to lie to the teacher about it as well. "Just tell her I had to help you a little with the hot glue because you're not allowed to use it by yourself." (as I am explaining the diorama to her that morning and pointing out where the sloth was in the back so she'd know.)
I'm not going to lie, when my dad fell last week and they took him to the very same hospital, and they put him in the ICU, and I knew the 2nd grade Amazon project was due this Friday it was the worst kind of deja-vu ever. But my dad is getting better, and is expected to complete re-hab on May 11th. He's planning on moving to an apartment in a retirement community, and I don't have to lie to the teacher about who really did the diorama.
Tonight is so much better than three years ago it's unbelievable... Thank you, God. And tell my mom hello for me. I still miss and think about her every day.