Mom’s Voice: Dreaming of an Origami Christmas

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If a mother’s work is never done, then what can be said of a room mom, the mother responsible for myriad behind the scenes tasks to make the non-academic magic happen in a classroom for the entire school year.

One of the important jobs of a room mom is to coordinate and execute the Teacher Gift, while keeping it a secret. Seems simple, but these women blaze new trails each year, and pave them with creativity upon which a Pinterest Goddess herself would be proud to travel.

This year, in regards to the teacher gift, I received the following email from Wyatt’s 4th grade room mom:

For the teacher Christmas gift we will be doing a money tree. I will be sending clothespins home on Tuesday for your kids to write their name on and decorate it. Please attach your donation if you want to participate folded up like an origami. Anything your child chooses is fine. It doesn’t have to be fancy just folded somehow cute. You can even do $1 if you would like to. Please try to send it back as soon as possible and for sure by the following Monday and have your child give it to Myles. He will have a bag in his backpack to put it in.

I had to stop and reread the sentence a few times to make sure it was not a typo: “Please attach your donation if you want to participate folded up like origami.”

As if this is the most normal thing in the world.

But I think my favorite part of this email was this: “It doesn’t have to be fancy, just folded somehow cute.”

What a relief, for a minute I thought we would have to do fancy money origami, but being that is only has to be cute, well that changes everything. All the pressure is lifted. Because I have a million cute dollar bill origami shapes up my sleeve. Besides, folding money breaks the monotony of folding linen napkins in original shapes at dinnertime.

Wyatt didn’t like any of my ideas: Keeping the original shape of money and calling it a magic carpet. Folding it over once – a tent! Folding it from the left and right, meeting in the center and opening it up as a tri-fold shape, and it becomes one of those privacy booths kids use during spelling tests – very apropos for the school setting. Wyatt was not impressed.

So, to You Tube we went. I sat with Wyatt, watching videos on how to fold money into origami shapes. The only thing weirder than the fact that we are making an origami money tree for the teacher is the fact that there are a plethora of “how-to” origami money videos showing the step-by-step process of turning a bill into anything from a butterfly to a bow tie, from a crane to a camera.

The one thing we did learn from watching the videos: One must use a crispy bill. In every video we watched, the person pulled out a bill so crisp, it looked as though it had come straight from a mint. No five spot from the back pocket of jeans, nothing fished out from the bottom of a purse.

Operation Cute Origami Teacher Present was put on hold and until I could make it to the bank to retrieve a crisp and new note. Another errand added to my growing holiday list.

A list, still far shorter I’m sure, than the room mom’s.



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