My child loves to collect things. At any point in time you can wander into her playroom or bedroom and find bags filled to the brim, zippers pulled taut over her haul - inside you will find little bits of everything, stuffed animals wrapped around fistfuls of parade beads, broken crayons, a doll shoe, random bits of paper.
If she knows that we are going out for the day, she will pack and repack in preparation for our outing. She will pull the overstuffed bag through the house, and, clenching it in an unforgiving fist refuse to leave it at home. The contents will be spread throughout the backseat of the car by the end of our travels. Forgotten, unuseful to her now that the day is done.
Her favorite thing to collect is rocks. She finds them at the park, in gravel driveways, in parking lots, at the edge of sidewalks and buildings. Each time she finds her next rock, she lets out a gasp of discovery followed quickly by a squeal of delight. "Momma, Momma, Momma, look at my wonderful new rock!" I nod, and try to refocus her on wherever it is we are trying to go.
She proudly shows off her rock to secretaries, to cashiers, strangers. "Look at my rock, it is for my rock collection, someday I will be a ge-. a ge-ah, a rock scientist." They nod at the strange collector, exclaim over her fanciful stories of where her rock has been, what it might have been used for in a past life.
When I do the laundry, if I am not careful, I will hear the distinctive thud of stones rumbling through the dryer. We have rocks in our pockets, rocks on top of the dressers (in her room and ours), rocks in baskets, rocks in bags. Each one is important, each one has a story.
I cannot wait to see what her next collection will be, if only to finally be able to clear out all of the rocks.