On Friday, Bini came home with four marshmallow creations (one is not pictured here, as it is too large). He laid them out on our kitchen island and said “Look Mommy. What I made.”
“Those are awesome, buddy. What are they?” I asked.
“They’re marshmallows.” Bini gave me an odd look. “Can I eat them now?”
“No. And I know they’re marshmallows. But what was your teacher trying to teach with the marshmallows?”
Another odd look. “I dunno. Why can’t I eat them?”
So now, dear readers, I’m stuck with four rapidly stiffening marshmallow-and-toothpick sculptures of an undefined purpose. They defy stacking, and I can’t really Scotch-tape them to the wall, with Bini’s other high art. After Bini snitched two marshmallows, I moved the projects to the office, dumping ground of all things I don’t know what to do with.
Moms (and dads): What are we supposed to do with all the stuff they bring home? Are we supposed to save it all? Every bit of it? Because I’m gonna confess right now: I don’t. I pitch his stuff all the time — usually the worksheets they do in class, like Lesson 8-4: Problem Solving. That’s not the stuff I’ll look back on with fondness when I’m enfeebled. The stuff I keep is the stuff that shows some of my kid’s personality — the funny in-class assignment where my Ethiopian son declared winter his favorite season. And I like to look back at his work from September, just to marvel at how much he’s learned in the past year. That stuff I’ll keep. But the marshmallow art project? That’s destined for the trash bin. Or the compost-and-recycling bins. This is Seattle, after all.
I’m sure there’s a mom out there reading this with tears in her eyes. I’m sure she’s thinking something like this: “How could you even consider pitching even a single scrap of your dear one’s work? Someday, when your husband has left you for a 50-year-old trollop and your kids don’t talk to you, you’ll think back on this day and wish you’d saved that finger-painted Japanese wind sock.” Perhaps. But right now, we’re trying to get our house ready to sell, and I am trashing all kinds of things — my snapshots from sixth grade, the airline ticket stubs from my solo trip to Spain, the drawing Bini did of a cat when he was 3. It’s all just stuff. We’ll surely make more.