A few weeks ago I heard about the PBS Kids Go Writer's Contest and encouraged Dear Daughter to enter. She is one creative kid and quite talented in her story telling skills. It was only days before the deadline when I first heard of the contest, so Daughter had to get busy. She bounced story ideas off of me and we talked about the structure and qualities of a good story, and she went to work. She spent two entire home school days working on the prose and artwork of this project. I was thoroughly amused at the puns she included. Her story was about a greedy fish named Gilbert, but his friends called him "Gill" for short. He wanted all the cool new gadgets and stuff that all the other fish in his "school" had. I know I'm her mother, and I know she is only six years old, but I thought she was brilliant! Her story also had a great message about friendship being more important than "stuff."
She finished it up and we drove to the local PBS station to drop it off because I feared it would not reach the destination in time for the deadline. We didn't think much about it again.
A couple weeks later at Daughter's homeschool co-op, she was practically accosted at the door by a peer who questioned if Zoe had won a writer's contest. We had not told anyone except Grandma and Grandpa H about her entering this contest, so I figured maybe she had indeed placed. However, we did not get any direct notification about her placing. I turned to the Internet to see if I could find a winner's list, but despite a couple hours of searching, gave up after finding nothing except that the local contest had been judged and first place winners would be sent to the national contest and all who placed would have their stories on exhibit locally for a week. I never could find names, which makes sense as these are all minor children. Since the little girl who mentioned the writing contest was only 5 or 6 herself, I figured she was just probably confused. Still the coincidence of her asking Daughter if she entered a writing contest was curious. Daughter and I even talked after I discovered the contest had indeed been judged, that it was a real bummer that she had worked so hard and had not been recognized.
A few minutes ago Dear Husband emerged from the basement office and handed me a large manila envelope. Inside was the congratulation letter and certificate for Daugther's honorable mention in the local contest. The letter was dated April 15th. At 15 minutes before midnight tonight, it was as good as being April 30th. Apparently we had this congratulation letter for a couple weeks before finding it.
After thinking about it some more, I remembered getting two large identical manila envelopes in the mail a couple weeks ago. Husband had told me to watch for some building plans he was going to be receiving from the county any day. So when I saw his name on the envelope, I assumed he got two envelopes of building plans. I left them on the kitchen island and told Dear Husband about them when he arrived home that evening because he had been anxiously awaiting them. He opened an envelope and looked at the stuff, and that was that.
In the next week or so the pile of mail on the kitchen island ended up in the basement office to be sorted. The fact that this particular envelope had never been opened was discovered for the first time a few minutes ago. And lo, the mystery was solved. While Dear Daughter didn't place first, second, or even third, I'm still really proud of her receiving honorable mention. She doesn't get to compete in the nationals, but only first place winners in each category do. She won't get a shot at the laptop, digital camera, or MP3 player, but she received a certificate of recognition and her story will have a week long display in the winner's exhibit in a local art gallery along with being recognized at the writer's banquet this fall after the national competition.
...and I learned to look at the mail more closely!