Believe it or not, I'm so grateful that I had that 3D printer in my life for a while. It was to be the last in a string of Engineering projects that somehow ended up in our house, bringing wonderful young people with them. Who could forget Warman - Matt, Lorin & Callum pulling countless all-nighters in a row as they constructed a masterpiece - with me feeding them each time they opened their mouths. Each night when I went to bed I sent prayers to whoever might be listening - if you make it work nicely for them I'll be a good person forever. Some days it worked, and some days it didn't. They got what they needed from that project, not what Matt's mum wanted them to get. (They also got dumped for neglecting their girlfriends) After Warman we swore that they would never make another project at our house.
But the 3D printer was special - it was THE THESIS - the culmination of all those years at school and university. And so I grew to love it. What did it make me grateful for?
- the school teachers (few and far between) who recognised a good mathematical brain behind the reluctance to write (Mrs Lloyd, year 4, knew before any of us that he would be an engineer)
- a tertiary system that allows flexible learning, enabling great thinkers to show their best qualities. The world needs people who think outside the box!
- the pictures of Matt huddled over piles of wire on the family room floor, as his brilliant ideas took shape
- the 'design' conversations I heard him sharing with his Dad, even though I didn't understand a word
- the warm chats with his sister in Melbourne as they traded sorry stories about his broken circuits and her strained muscles
- beautiful Mary from across the road (86 going on 26) who allowed him to machine-sew the sandbags he painstakingly cut out and tacked together, and the bunch of daffodils he took her that night
- his absolute determination to achieve his goal of becoming a mechanical engineer.
And so the 3D printer has moved on - still not completed but almost there. Each night when I go to bed, I'll be making all sorts of pacts about being a better person if it works well. Just because that's what I do. But here's the thing -I know that Matt will shine at his thesis presentation regardless of whom I pray to or what I feed him. He can do it all by himself.
And that's what I'm most grateful for. I hope he writes his story one day.