For us moms, fear can come in the form of spiders, bugs, and snakes (unless you are like my friend, Cindi of course and LOVE those things … unnatural, I tell you *shudder*). Fear can come in the night when you hear your child cough, or call out. Fear can come in the afternoon when you are at the store and you get the phone call that caller ID says is the school calling. Fear can come on the weekend when you are somewhere with tons and tons of people and you lose a kid for 60 seconds that really feels like 60 hours.
But nothing … nothing, I tell you can put the fear of God in you like the two seemingly benign words: Science Project.
I was driving Lizzie and Bennett to school this morning because hey, three weeks of Safety Patrol just wasn’t enough! No, really because I am apprenticing to be a co-chair for our school book fair and we sell books to children between the hours of 7:15 and 8:15 in the morning. It’s a lovely Monday, the birds are chirping, the skies are blue, husband and Abby are home from the 8th grade trip to Savannah in one piece, Lucy is home for the summer, and we have only two weeks of school left.
Life is good!
I discuss as much with Lizzie and Ben and tell them that at some point we need to agree upon their summer plans with regard to staying on top of their Math skills, which I compared to studying a foreign language (but that is another post for another day). We talk about how we have swim this afternoon and that the schedule will be nuts because we are now involved with two swim teams. Its a great conversation, and then Ben says to me out of the blue, “Mom, when can I work on the Science Fair Project?”
My head starts to spin, immediately, and my thoughts shoot toward his teacher. Did she assign a project? Really? I mean, I thought we had an understanding about this kind of stuff … I thought we were friends …
I ask him to repeat the question, knowing surely I didn’t hear what I thought I heard, I must be confused. Or old. Or delirious from having all my peeps under one roof again for a bit.
“When can I work on the Science Fair Project? You know, with the big board and research and construction paper and decoding the human genome thing?”
(This is no joke, my second grader just asked me when can he get to work on decoding the human genome. I actually typed it out on my phone so that I wouldn’t forget – at a stop light of course!)
My brain is racing, trying to remember an email from his teacher that said anything about a Science Fair project … during the LAST TWO WEEKS OF SCHOOL! Did I already mention that? That it is the last two weeks? Oh, well now you know.
“This must be a joke,” I think to myself. “No. Way,” my brain says over and over. My heart sinks, my palms start to sweat and I ask him in a shaky voice, “Do … do you have a science project? Because I don’t remember hearing about …”
“No, mom, I just mean when do I get to do a science project?”
“Oh!” I exclaim as the brain rearranges and settles back into my reality, relief coming in such a huge wave that I want to curl on the floor and cry, but of course I’m driving so that isn’t really feasible or safe. “So you mean you want to know at what age do you get to do a science fair project such as decoding the human genome?”
“Yes,” his excited and angelic voice pipes from the back seat.
“Oh, well … hmm … maybe when you are Emma’s age?”
Emma is 16, but seriously … I’m 43 and have yet to decode the human genome. But now its on my bucket list.
I will say though, it took a good twenty minutes for my heart beat to return to normal.