While on my way to dispose of a breakfast of which I only took three bites, I noticed something that has broken my heart: The sixteenth craft I made at preschool this week, stuffed into the garbage beneath a layer of yesterday’s trash as if I wouldn’t find it.

No, not the one with the blue crayon circles. Also, no, not the paint handprints that mysteriously had some other kid’s name spelled backward on it. I’m talking about the one with the eight star stickers, a singular macaroni noodle glued to the top, and a few smudges of pink marker, wrinkled from when I shoved it in my backpack. Yes, there’s a hole in the middle from where I pressed the marker down too hard, repeatedly rubbing it in violent circles like I was trying to murder my canvas, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to dispose of it without my permission.

I am aware the refrigerator already displays five similar drawings, and, yeah, you have four noodle necklaces hanging on the lamp by your desk, and I know we’re on our second iron this year because of all the Perler beads I melt into beautiful stars, hearts, and fish. But when I came home excitedly holding this latest presentation of my blossoming creativity out with both hands, I thought the look of pride you had on your face was sincere. Now, I’m not sure what to believe.

Do you not appreciate the six minutes of uninterrupted focus required for me to produce such masterpieces? Is there no true love for the wilting dandelions I harvest from our yard three times a week that I demand you find a new vase for every time? Does this prove you’re not planning on treasuring the rocks I collected for you in my pocket that I forgot to take out until it was too late, which were rattling around in the dryer during the third load of laundry you were doing today?

My future therapy bills are already increasing over the denial of genius presented through this unforgivable act of parental neglect.

But trauma creates great art, and with that, I’m prepared to unveil my greatest work yet: a rainbow mural of permanent markers all over the bathroom on every surface I could reach. The sink. The baseboards. The shower curtain. The mirror. The bolts that hold the toilet down to the floor. The light switch. The door. The fancy tile you had installed during a remodel before I was born.

I’m hopeful the tears I see forming in your eyes represent how moved you are by my magnum opus. It feels great to finally have my work be respected the way it should.