The 8-year-old had an enormous smile on his face when I picked him up at school on Thursday. He had a surprise in his backpack, the book club had delivered his order: build your own R2-D2. Ten hours to assemble, said the brochure. I don’t know what possessed me to agree to this purchase. At the time I thought it was a great idea–a creative project for the school holiday when I’ll be working from home. Judging by his mental skill and manual ability in putting his Lego toys together I thought, sure, piece of cake. But later it’s been borne upon me that this project involves building a 30cm cardboard robot with paper, scissors and glue. And Led lights! They must mean ten hours of skilled adult work.
For the last two weeks this child has been talking about his exciting school holiday project and as much as I enjoy seeing his enthusiasm I must confess I can’t share the same excitement. On the night we got home with the kit I had a taster of what this project will be like. Thomas sneakily opened the box in his bedroom but in a few minutes rushed downstairs in tears: “this R2-D2 will never work”. He only had a go at the first element… Oh God, I can anticipate how I’m going to spend my two days of annual leave: detaching and trimming paper shapes from 12 A4 sheets and trying to figure out where they go. I gave Thomas a hug and ensured I was going to help him build R2-D2 but he had to wait for the holiday to begin. I could feel his sticky fingers entangled in my hair… I never liked Star Wars and I get the feeling I’m going to like it even less…
But then later that night I went to bed and Thomas as drawing his own Star Wars comic book and he read it to me. He was one of the characters and he fought the droids and robots with lightsabers and passion. It was way past his bed time but his eyes still sparkled with energy and adventure. He said he’d continue the battle in his dreams.
I’m starting to change my mind about the holiday project. I now think it’ll be quite fun to build R2-D2 with Thomas – so long as The Force gives me patience.