Sandra Tsing Loh goes to Hawaii... sort of.
Even the most stable parents will admit, at times, to living vicariously through our children. We marvel at these extraordinary beings who get to have glorious experiences we’ll never know.
For instance, recently my 10 year old gets into the car with amazing news. The state she has been assigned to do her big fifth grade project on? Hawaii.
Hawaii? I feel like I’ve raised an alien. No one in my entire family has ever gotten a cool project like that. Growing up NORMAL in Southern California, my sister and brother and I had to contend with NORMAL states, like Michigan, Rhode Island, Virginia. My sister thought Virginia was special because of all the presidents—that’s how little we had to work with. My neighbor Tom says, growing up in Chicago, they weren’t even assigned states. There was only ONE state—Illinois, land of Lincoln.
The point was, I had never even heard of anyone getting assigned Hawaii. It’s so exotic! It’s not like a real state. It’s like a party state. Or a flaming dessert. It’s like being assigned Las Vegas, or Christmas! Neither of which are states at all. But, I think you see my point.
I already was wowed when her older sister had gotten glamorous New York, but Hawaii!
Jubilantly, Suzy gets on the phone and starts giving the joyous tidings to aunts, uncles, even her god-grandmother, Tutu, who actually grew up in Hawaii. While she’s on the phone, I sagely whisper that she should ask Tutu to send her some stuff from Hawaii. Even though the deadline is a full six weeks away, a FedEx package arrives 48 hours later with guidebooks and antique postcards and colorful pieces of cloth. Slam dunk! Hawaii is essentially in the bag.
I have to do a bit of travel over the next couple of weeks, but I keep tabs on the Hawaii project via phone and email. The excitement only seems to be growing. There is talk now of extra-credit projects including a Hawaii quilt and a board game and a volcano. The volcano will be carved out of a pineapple exploding with Coca-Cola with Mentos, spiked with red food coloring to make it look EXACTLY like lava.
So, now it’s Sunday morning at my house, a week before the due date. Suzy is not working on any Hawaii stuff because I assume all of it is awesome and done and at her dad’s house.
And it’s at this point that my daughter approaches me with a smile and a sassy finger-pistol and says: “Mom—I have a fabulous invitation! I’d like to recruit you to join my motivation army!”
Her Motivation ARMY? Release the dogs of war.
Next week: Hawaii—Up All Night!