"Make a craft," said the first grade teacher.
"Make it fun. Make it creative."
"Make it something from another country."
The handwriting was on the wall. Youngest Daughter's Explore-A-Country craft was going to become my project.
We picked the Philippines.
We have no connection to the Philippines.
We have not been there.
We know no one there.
However, Family Fun had a star lantern on their web site that looked just right. And we both felt that cute was a lot more important than relevance . . . wouldn't you agree? Especially after we chose colors that would compliment Youngest Daughter's bedroom.
Materials were assembled: tissue paper, basswood strips, glue, rubber bands.
A star was formed.
So far, the 7 year-old fingers had not been able to cut basswood, form a star, or wrap rubber bands.
We soldiered on.
(Please note dog's snout resting comforably on crafting surface.)
Two stars made, front and back attached. Now onto the tracing, cutting, and gluing of 20 different triangle shapes from tissue paper.
Hmmmm. I remember a half-hearted attempt to glue on a couple of triangles by Youngest Daughter. But by the time the glue had stuck to her fingers, the tissue paper had stuck to the glue, and the perfectly traced and cut triangle had made a slow, soggy rip, Youngest Daughter was done . . . finished . . . out-of-there.
I finished the gluing, fondly remembering a certain night of my childhood which found my engineer-father, at 2:00 in the morning beautifully executing a miniature weather station (complete with rotating satellite dish) while my brother (whose science project was due the next morning) slept blissfully and unconcernedly in his bed.
Despite Youngest Daughter's abandonment, I rather loved the light streaming through the delicate tissue paper and began to enjoy myself.
Glorious tissue tassels were attached, and Youngest Daughter was able to present to her class "her" project. A Philippine Christmas lantern, filling the streets in the Philippines at Christmas time, to remind all of the star that hung and shone over Jesus' manger.
The class ooh-ed and aaah-ed. Teacher's Assistant's complimented her on the fine job she did. Classmates wondered how her small, 7 year-old hands could have created such beauty.
Youngest Daughter smiled placidly and accepted all compliments calmly. No one noticed the Tacky Glue still under my fingernails . . . or the splinter alongside my cuticle. No, this was Youngest Daughter's moment.
And, yes, the lantern does look quite lovely and color-coordinated hanging in her room.