The One Trophy I Won't Throw Away


I'm a terrible mom and I don't care who knows it.

It was the night before the cleaning lady was scheduled to come and so we were doing the "cleaning for the cleaning lady dance." Yes, that's a thing, people. You can't really turn over your house to the cleaning lady in it's normal disgusting state. She can't know what pigs you really are. And if you want her to clean properly, you've got to get your crap off the floors. She's not going to vacuum if you've got Legos, stuffed animals, and dirty underwear strewn about.


So I was gently telling my children to move their asses and get their rooms ready for the cleaning lady or else I'd start chucking things in the trash. Don't look at me like that. You know you sneak in during the school day and clean out bags and bags of stuff and your kid doesn't even notice. You prefer the non-confrontational approach. Not me. I like to see the look of terror in my children's eyes when I threaten to throw out the semi-precious stone collection that Adolpha curated from a WalMart parking lot or when I promise to disassemble Gomer's priceless one-of-a-kind Lego sculptures that all resemble cars that can also fly.

Gomer's room was especially bad. He's had two more years than Adolpha to collect crap and Adolpha is good about leaving hers in countless bags hidden all over the house. Gomer prefers to just pile stuff on top of stuff and then it all has to be moved to get dusted. OK, I don't dust before the cleaning lady comes, but I blow really hard on some of the shelves of junk. Gomer had one particular ledge that was full of a motley assortment of plaques and mementos he received from friends and family as a baby (probably time to pack some of those away), clay sculptures he's made over the years (is there nothing else a kid can sculpt other than a half-assed pinch pot?), and trophies. So. Many. Trophies.

You might be thinking: Easy there, humblebragger. We get it, you've got a highly advanced athletic specimen living in your house. Bravo for you.

You'd be wrong. I have a child who is a chronic joiner. I have a child who has just started tae kwon do a few months ago and now he came home from school just yesterday and told me he is interested in joining the lacrosse team. He's never even tried to play this game and yet he expects me shell out hundreds of dollars in specialized equipment before he even steps on the field? (They play lacrosse on a field, right?) You gotta be kidding me, Gomer.

In Gomer's ten short years, he has played many, many, many seasons of baseball and soccer. He has amassed a sizable collection of trophies. Not first place trophies. Not second place trophies. Not third place trophies. PARTICIPATION TROPHIES.

Ugh.

The worst kind of trophy ever.

I decided I was sick of looking at those trophies. I picked up one. It was from his kindergarten season of baseball. I remember that season well. He cried when he had go in the outfield because it was "boring" and he only "signed up to hit the ball." I had to stand by the fence near the outfield and remind him to remain standing. "Come on, Gomer. Stand up, please. Your team needs you. Gomer! The ball! It's coming! Catch it, catch it! Run, run! The other way, Gomer! Ahhhhhh! You missed. Maybe next time. That's why you've got to pay attention out there, Gomer. Gomer!! Stop picking flowers and listen to me."

I hated baseball.

Looking at that trophy brought back a flood of terrible memories. "It's time to get rid of these, Gomer," I said, sweeping all of the trophies into a plastic bag.


"What? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO," Gomer wailed. "My trophies! Mom, I earned those!"

Bullshit. "Gomer," I said. "they're participation trophies. You didn't earn them. I paid for them. In fact, the rec center probably charged us all an extra twenty bucks for these suckers."

Gomer gave me the sad face for about thirty seconds and then moved on.

Exactly, I thought. He doesn't care about these things. He just likes to collect stuff.

"We'll keep a trophy that you earn, buddy. But not these. They're just taking up space and I'm sick of dusting them."

"I've never seen you dust--" Gomer said.

"You don't know what I do when you're at school!" I interrupted him. Sheesh, kid.

The next day, Gomer had a mathletics competition. Yes, the boy enjoys math. Yes, math was easily my worst subject in school and the ONE math course I had to take as an English major almost prevented me from graduating from college. If I hadn't been conscious when I squeezed that boy out, I'd order a DNA test.

The organizer of the event was desperate for volunteers to be judges and so she asked me. My first question was: "There's an answer key, right?"

"Of course!"

"OK, then I'll do it."

So yesterday afternoon I spent an hour judging the answers of the fourth grade teams. The competition started so quickly that I didn't get a chance to see what team Gomer was on. So even though I was judging, I didn't know how he was doing until the results were announced at the end.

Imagine my surprise (and delight) when he placed second!

When he came over to show me his ribbon, I said, "THAT one I won't throw away. You earned THAT one."


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1 comment:

Sara said...

Dying laughing right now. I am a cleaning lady and we definitely appreciate it when you pick up your dirty underwear. Oh and I hate participation trophies. My boys have a ton just collection dust. Now the trophy for first place in the school geography bee, that's a keeper.

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