I Threw Out The Mona Lisa

It was the ear shattering shriek heard throughout the house.


It was very close to the “I’m dying” yell and the “I just vomited” yell.

So I ran towards my 6-year-old son’s room.  There he was, in tears and standing over a grocery bag I had just started to fill with trash.

“You’re throwing out my ART?!”  Josh asked in amazement.

The Mona Leprechaun

Yes, in the little garbage bag was a leprechaun mask he made in Kindergarten.  Made from construction paper and held up with a stick.   The ‘ol leprechaun had been buried under a stack of homemade “Go Red Wings” pictures, Lego magazines and “Fly Guy” books on the tiny chair in his room.  Let’s just say leprechaun guy hasn’t been seen from that stack of stuff in about three months, since it came home from school.

And I was on a cleaning binge.  I got that sudden, mysterious and crazy energy to run from room to room and throw out every paper, piece of plastic and string that wasn’t nailed down. And I tackled Josh’s room first.  In terms of collecting random things and refusing to throw them out, (prizes from Dave & Busters, spider rings, old candy)  he’s the worst.

It wasn’t like Mr. Leprechaun was one of only a few works of art he had ever done.  It was project #267 out of #2225.  And if you don’t believe me, you should see his room, which is a shrine to every piece of paper he’s ever written on.  He’ll draw something (it used to be trains, and now its sports scores), go into the kitchen, grab the tape, and put it up on his wall.  Every once in a while I’ll stand in his room and think…. I should take away the tape.

Art Wall

“But I worked hard on that,” he started to cry again.  “Why do you have to throw it out?”

Why?  Because if I held on to every piece of paper he colored, my house would be featured on an episode of Hoarders.

But instantly I felt like the worst mother in the world.  How could you throw out precious pieces of art?  A little person’s expression of creativity? I realized I didn’t know the rule here.  I adore every project my three kids do.  I know it takes them time, creativity and hard work.  (Or one crayon, a few scribbles and ta-da!)  But how long am I supposed to hang on to something?  Should I laminate it all?  Or just throw it out when they’re not looking?


So I pulled the leprechaun mask out of the trash.  He seemed to laugh at me, like “You’re crazy lady. I would have thrown me out too”.   And it’s even more disheveled after spending an hour crunched up in the garbage.  I don’t think you’ll see this craft in the Louvre or the MoMA any time soon.   Fifty years from now, art critics won’t be arguing about the mystery and subtle beauty of the leprechaun.  They won’t print replicas on coffee mugs and t-shirts.  But for Josh, it is proof of his arty talents.  And he is very proud.

I guess DaVinci, Monet and Pollock all had to start somewhere.  I just wonder how many drawings and projects their mothers threw out.

9 thoughts on “I Threw Out The Mona Lisa

  1. Put them all in a box (sorted by year) then put that box in the basement. They will forget about it and in 2-3 years you can pitch that box. My son is going into 10th grade and I only have stuff now going back to 6th grade, all the elementary school stuff is gone. Out of sight, out of mind.

    • Reminds me of a Josh that lived and lives on Cape Cod. I used to do my throwing away when he was at school. But if I didn’t get that trash bag out before he came home he would react in the same way your Josh does. Horror, amazement, anger….. “you mean you are actually throwing out the GI Joe with one arm, I can fix it mom”. I like you Christy would feel like a bad mom and give him the bag and say next time I’ll get the bag out before he gets home. But I never did and now at age 40 he still catches me now and then when I am trying to take something to the Swap Shop at our dump. When he goes to the Swap Shop with something he always comes home with something to replace it Last year it was a huge stuffed tiger that rode on the top of his car for quite some time and still resides in the back of his beach car just incase the need arises to pull it out. I will say however he is an artist – so perhaps some day you will be glad you saved the Mona Leprechaun! You are a great mom Christy!

    • Patti, that is a good idea. Unfortunately it would take organization. And that is not my strength! Oh to have things organized in boxes…. some day…. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. About 10 years ago, when my now deceased Mother was breaking up her house, she gave me a large, bulging manila envelope. What’s this? I asked while opening it. Inside was years of “artwork” I had produced from kindergarten until who knows when. She had saved it all and was now returning it to me. Mind you, I have 7 siblings and she saved all of theirs as well. You know what? I’m kind of glad she did. It means a lot more to me now than it ever did then.

    • Chris, I think I got a litle teary! How wonderful of your mom! I have saved some art, just not all. But I will make sure to hang onto it… and embarass Josh at his high school graduation. Thanks for reading!!

  3. Erin is my little hoarder and has an art wall in her room too:)…and Kyle is a taper of all things. Too funny! btw, that leprachaun got the boot at my house too.

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