Monday, June 23, 2014

What Ten Years Of Lego Building Looks Like

As much as I love all things French, I used to resent Derrida and the French Deconstructionists.  It was so depressing to tear apart a literary work until its meaning was made irrelevant.  I resented it then, just like I'm resenting the deconstructionists now.

If you ask Elliot what he wants to "be" when he grows up, he generally replies that he wants to be a Lego Master Builder.

His passion for creating with plastic bricks has meant the gift of time for write, to socialize, and to create.  I love that he enjoys this hobby which helps to make connections in his mind and problem solve.

But just now I'm realizing that perhaps all of that creative free time with bricks has led to something disturbing:

The tendency to build, only to dismantle. Just like the Buddhist monks who make the wonderful sand mandalas only to brush them away.  Life is impermanent, as is art.

In our house, so are plastic brick constructions.

Perhaps it's a normal boy kind of behavior.  (But the mini figures....why take off their heads, arms, legs???? poor little people!)

Taking apart all of these expensive and complicated Lego sets has allowed Elliot to repeatedly work on new creations.  He's gone through several developmental stages with his bricks, from Star Wars to Marvel Comic Heroes to Hobbits and Knights.   He's re-made more vehicles, robots, houses and spaceships than I can count.

And at one time, he built them all to the exact specifications in record times.  Out of all of these sets, only one remains:  The Millenium Falcon, which he built with his Dad, who made him swear to never ever ever dismantle it.

So now all of those technical creations have become the raw materials for his imagination.  But it's also a little heartbreaking.  Richard says that when Elliot is a teen and starts to rebel, the consequences for disobedience will include restoring the sets, one by one, brick by brick, back to their original condition.

I shudder at the thought of it....

Just now, we are preparing for Elliot's tenth birthday party.  Every year we say with complete confidence, "next year, we will not have a party.  We will do something different." (How about taking a friend to the Water Park, Elliot????? Wouldn't that be a blast????)

But the though of not having a big back yard party depresses all of us.

We love our friends.  Parents come and enjoy the fun and it feels so good to fill our home with children and listen to the shouting as they run through house and all over the yard.  So if it takes weeks of creative projects and budgeting, so what?

We are making memories and connecting with our community.  It's not about the gifts, but the friends.

This year, the theme is a mash up of Lego and Minecraft.  We'll be showing The Lego Movie in our homemade outdoor theater, have a Minecraft photo booth set up in the arbor, play games and fill the ping-pong table with trays and trays of Lego for a building activity.  If Elliot were not a deconstructionist, this part would be impossible.  So I'm trying to be positive while I sit through the sorting:  his compulsion to break down the space ships becomes an opportunity to share the experience of creativity and collaboration.

But in preparation for that activity, we are now in plastic brick hell.... (find a seat, anyone?)

There's more where these came from!

I'm not a Pinterest-perfect Mom who puts on the pretty parties with color-coordinated and matching theme decorations.  We're going to set up a taco bar in the dining room, take the cover off the pool, have a romping, running. invented game of "cap the Kragle" involving the garden hose.  We'll stuff our faces with cake cake and ice cream, and hand out bags of popcorn for the movie.  I'm also working on thank you gifts for each child...a hand painted t shirt with a Lego character face in the center.

Somewhere I read that the secret to happiness is finding something you care about that is bigger than yourself, then let that be your life.

I'm so lucky that I get to be a mom and do these crazy, time consuming, creative, messy projects.  If you were to stop by my house, you might find me buried in Lego bricks with paint on my face.

And I would be happy.

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