Tuesday, August 10, 2010

89. Masterpiece Or Minorpiece

Do you have a kindergartner or preschooler? You do? What do you do with all their ART? It comes home like a tidal wave, drowning everything it comes in contact with.

My refrigerator is covered with Art. The kitchen bulletin board is covered with Art. The Special Humongous Bulletin Board Just For Art that we had custom-made for their toy room is covered with Art. And now, in the study, even Mommy’s bulletin board (that is supposed to be for Mommy’s special photos and inspirational quotes about leading a clutter-free life and magazine pages of dream kitchens) is covered with Art.

The walls are becoming very crowded as the Art struggles to share space with, oh, I don’t know, a window or two.

We are at a Saturation Level. No new Art can come in anymore. I went to the Container Store and bought special folders for the special Art, and now they are full. All 127 of them.

Some of the Art is stunning. We frame those pieces. I love them and show them off whenever I can. I mail some pieces to my sister-- she seems appreciative. The next time we talk on the phone, she makes a passing reference to the latest batch of Art and favorably compares my sons to Picasso.

I am filled with joy to see my children’s "creativity budding" and see them "developing as artists" and finding the "sense of accomplishment and pride in making something with their own two hands" blah blah blah.

It’s just, do I really have to keep ALL of the so-called Art?

And so, I don’t. (Insert sad face here.) I pretend I keep it all, but then, after the boys have gone to sleep, I cautiously remove the offending “masterpiece”:
  • Perhaps it is a chick with feathers glued on perfectly straight—obviously done by the overzealously helpful assistant teacher
  • How about a kids' menu from the local pizza place with a few loopy scribbles (am I required to keep THAT-- on what planet is that considered Art?)
  • Maybe a ceramic "turtle" that long ago had its head broken off and now has a giant crack (that has already been glued three times) running the length of his shell
  • Or better yet, a montage of dark green and brown and black paint (all swirled together with angry pieces of torn gray tissue paper) that reminds me not of Art so much, but more of…… vomit
I hold the Art in my hands one last time. I try to connect with the Art. I tell it, It's not your fault, it's not you it's me, you were a learning experience, you were a stepping stone to greater things (I am breaking up with the Art). I give it one last look of approval or at least acknowledgement. Then I make it magically and mysteriously………… disappear.

I say a little prayer to my Jesus CD that I won't be arrested by the Art Police as I crumple the paper and put it in the very bottom of the trash bag, underneath coffee grounds and last night's leftover tuna casserole. My looming fear is that the trash bag will accidentally rip open out on the street and some remnant of the Art will unintentionally loll in our driveway, an unfriendly loiterer that will broadcast my Evil Ways to my children and to the neighborhood. Better double up the trash bag.

No remorse, no turning back, nerves of steel. I need to get good at this because I have 12 more years ahead of me. 12 years of determining what stays and what goes.

I know: I am The Worst Mom Ever.

But that is okay with me, because at least I can see the moon out my window.

(“Masterpiece? Or Vomit?”)


  1. You always say what we think. Yes...I once dated a guy who had a mom who throw it all away. He remembers finding it in the trash and thought it reflected his importance. I love the delicate thought put into the "masterpiece" or "vomit". I am in the same situation. Thanks for putting it to words.

  2. two words, sister: digital camera. Yup, take a photo of the masterpiece, then cram the original in between the pages of the newspaper in the recycling bin, and then forget about it. You'll go insane otherwise! (And someday, I swear I really will make little shutterlfly books of their masterpieces to present to them when they've graduated from college. Maybe some future wife will think they're cute?

  3. Exactly. Take photos of the art. I do that with pieces that have macaroni or other food products on them.

  4. kim--thank you!

    steph-- yes, photos!

    couse-- as I type this, I have a new tidal wave of "art" to contend with..........



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