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are you a collector?


Last night after bath time, I trimmed our 2-year-old's hair. Like her sister before her, she has very fine hair and the layers are growing out unevenly in the back. She was sort of sporting a toddler mullet, so I made a universal snip in the back to even things out. When I was done I walked the few snippets of curls over to the trash can in the kitchen and dropped them in.

It was then that my mother-in-law's words came floating into my head. "You're going to save her hair from her first haircut, right, right, right?" (The word "right" echoed in my head as the volume faded and a vision of my MIL's face filled my mind.)

I am not a sentimental chick. I do not save stuff. I am a purger. I do not like clutter. I do not like knick knacks. I do not like green eggs and ham.

I did not save my first daughter's hair from her first haircut. I unceremoniously flushed that hair down the toilet. That was not a metaphor for anything, I was in the bathroom when I trimmed her hair and the toilet was handy. When I revealed that tidbit to my MIL she gasped in horror.

I do have three calendars, one for each girl, that note their individual milestones from each of their first years. An explanation on these calendars is in order.

I received the first calendar as a gift for my first daughter. I recall, at the time, writing dates and items on scraps of paper and thinking I would get back to filling in the calendar. I remember placing those scraps of paper in a bag when we cleaned our basement for the impending basement re-model. I also remember looking inside that bag one time after the basement was finished.

Now the scraps of paper with those dates are gone. I have no idea where they are, they just vanished.

When my second daughter was born I thought she might be my "last born" (go ahead and laugh at my naivety) and since I am the last born myself I vowed she would have a lot of photos taken of her as a baby and that her calendar would be completed in "real time" as she accomplished her milestones. Her calendar is complete and actually has some photos in it.

I was diligent with her calendar because there are roughly four photos of me as a baby (last kid of six, remember?) The rest of the photos begin when I started Kindergarten. I have issues about that; I own it. So like Scarlett O'Hara, I made a vow. I vowed to never subject my last born to the inequity of a sparse photographic history.

Enter daughter number three. I did buy a calendar and crossed my fingers that she really was my last born (and I will continue to cross my fingers until sweet menopause descends upon me with its hot flashes and irritability). Her calendar is also filled out, but it doesn't have many photos.

Recently my oldest daughter found my stash of calendars and since she is in second grade and can read now, she knows her calendar is starkly empty by comparison. I stand by my previous statement that having a kid who can read is, at the same time, a blessing and curse. So being the good taskmaster that she is, she made me sit down with pen in hand and fill out the calendar as she supervised. At least that's done. Now I need to print some photos to go in her calendar.

It is ironic, I think that my first born child had very minimal notations in her calendar and my last born child (fingers crossed) has an abundant calendar. Well, I rectified that, so we can move on.

My actual point today is, how many of you out there are "collectors" in the true sense of the word? What motivates you? Why do you collect? As a child I recall trying to jump-start a collection. I went through postcards for a while and then tried my hand at stamps, but nothing stuck (no pun intended). I am just not a collector. I am assuming there is a psychological reason for why a person does collect and conversely for why a person does not collect items.

To me, there is no sense in collecting items. I am a Spartan kind of gal and my house is small. I don't have any physical space where I could store a collection. I frequently feel I "collect" thoughts in my head and file them away for future use. It's orderly and efficient. It also serves my purpose to keep things uncluttered.

I just realized something I do actively collect: money and Converse low tops. I guess I am a collector after all.


2007-09-12 at 6:39 a.m.

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