The white sheet of paper has been sitting on the kitchen counter for approximately two weeks. Like an iceberg to the Titanic. Waiting to destroy the stately waltz of my inner calm.
The First Grade Polar Project.
I’ve been down this mind-numbing antarctic road before. My daughter’s childhood obsession is sleek-bodied, barrel-shaped and blubbery.
Justin Bieber? No.
Katy Perry? No.
Perry the Platypus? No.
Seals. Yes, seals.
It started with the sweet sighs of pinniped love.
But it wasn’t long before my daughter’s hyper focus turned to bloodshed. There was talk of seal killing hunters. Of blood on ice. Soon my petite six-year-old was dreaming up cruel ways to kill the hunters who were killing the seals.
And so began discussions about non-violent ways to advocate for seals.
Letters were written.
Many stuffed animals were purchased. Dioramas were made. Stories were written about seals living in our bathtub.
The Generous Grandparents, wanting to take a large
anxiety inducing family trip, decided on a cruise to Alaska. Methinks it was partly because there would be seal sightings. How better to skyrocket their Grandparental Popularity Ranking?
On the last day of the cruise we made our way along the Tracy Arm Fjord and saw the Sawyer glacier.
And by the luck of the iceberg, there were seals. The squeals of joy from my daughter still painfully (and happily) echo in my memory.
Three years later, there is still much talk about seals and plans for a career involving seal rescue, heroics, and worldwide fame.
So exactly fourteen days ago, when my sweet first grade son came home from school and presented me with the dreaded Polar Project instruction sheet, I should have been prepared.
We sat down at the kitchen table and as he dipped chicken nuggets in ketchup I extolled the virtues of terns, snowy owls, the ptarmigan.
He nodded thoughtfully as I described Musk oxen, arctic foxes, wolves and sled dogs.
But when I asked him what he wanted to do his project on, he looked right at his sister, who was holding her breath in anticipation, and with complete certainty and utter devotion said: Seals. Definitely seals.