I pride myself on volunteering at my son’s elementary school once a week. It’s something I always wanted my own mom to do for me, or at the very least, show up with freshly baked cupcakes for my class on my birthday. But with four young siblings at home, I was lucky when she sent me to school with a slab of apple pie in a sandwich baggie for my birthday lunch. No fork. True story.
Though I’m not quite as frazzled as my own mom was, I’m not capable of being the PTA Mom or the Room Mom. I’m way too disorganized, and shy, and multitask-dysfunctional to be that mom. I’m not the Idea Mom, the one who comes up with all the cute crafts and games to do for the holiday parties–it would take me way too long to clear the cobwebs out of my stay-at-home-mom brain to be that mom. I’m the one who shows up in my kid’s classroom once a week to make copies, file papers, laminate things, staple things, and cut things, and sometimes I even manage to screw one or all of those mindless tasks up. I’m the Manual Labor Mom.
This morning, I got to the classroom expecting the usual routine of putting my brain on auto-pilot, when M’s teacher tells me my skills would be better put to use in the library for the Book Fair. I hope she means they just need some books put away or something–this chick KNOWS me. I smile sweetly and march myself down to the library, palms sweating. I throw open one of the double doors and what greets me is one of my worst Incompetent Mom nightmares (of which there are many). A bunch of Room Moms and PTA Moms are scurrying around directing gangs of kids at various, incomprehensible, complicated CRAFT tables. What the HELL do crafts have to do with reading books?
“Oh,” says a perfectly accessorized, make-upped, perfumed, coiffed PTA Mom. “I hope you’re here to help!”
“Of course,” I answer smoothly, tightening my dirty pony-tail. “What can I do?” Indeed. What CAN I do? None of these craft tables look like they’re in my wheelhouse, but this PTA hooker gives me the one I’m most likely to screw up. The Origami Table.
I guess she has me confused with someone who can a) use simple logic
and problem-solving to erect a three-dimensional animal out of a flat freaking piece of paper, b) follow mind-boggling diagrammed instructions with lots of dashed lines accompanied by foreign terms like “valley fold” and “mountain fold,” and c) withstand feeling like a bumbling moron in front of FIVE revolving groups of wide-eyed, open-mouthed first graders who have never seen a sweaty, red-faced adult arm-wrestling a paper elephant. Origami Table?!! By the time I got done with it, it looked like the Pet Semetary Table. Happy to help.