I didn’t expect to love holding marker caps, or the tops of acorns, or the shiny foil of an opened Hershey Kiss.
My life is full of tiny things, unexpected bits and baubles — little treasures collected by my children and tucked into pockets, both theirs and mine. I find them in the pants pockets and stacked on chairs.
Oliver, my wild bird, is a collector of sparkly things. He likes pawing through my jewelry box to unearth my college ring: a thick band with a ruby at its center. It’s engraved with my initials and graduation year, though my thirty-something eyes don’t find the tiny letters as easily these days. I’ve caught Ollie many times trying to squirrel it away. I keep little from them, but I don’t want that ring to disappear like so many marbles and buttons before it.
“Mommy, when I’m five, I can have your college ring?” Oliver will ask. Five is going to be a big year for Oliver; it’s the age he’ll be driving the minivan and chopping vegetables himself, too.
Hadley is also getting in on the act. She loves to carry around LEGO people, one she’s even dubbed “Mommy,” and has a collection of plastic “Sesame Street” characters in the cupholder of her car seat. I find Goldfish tucked away, presumably for later, and round game pieces hidden in the trunk of a tricycle.
She and Ollie build their nests — one busted piece of jewelry at a time.
Marker caps are new. Hadley loves to draw: bold lines and dots like pattering raindrops on cloudy white paper. She will make the smallest movement with a pen, adding a pink swoosh here or a yellow circle there. She hands each lid to me as she works, careful not to get ink on her tiny fingers.
I’m cautious with the lids, waiting with uncharacteristic patience as she draws. We don’t want to the markers to dry out, I gently say.
And Hadley smiles, nods, adds more dots to her scene. She trusts that these, too, will be safe.