The Collector


When her son was born, she carefully documented each milestone. His weight at birth was tenderly recorded in a book purchased for just that occasion. She kept the book nearby so that she could also record the exact moment of his first tooth; his first word; his first step; his first Halloween costume; all the myriad firsts that define a life just starting out.

When her son’s little sister was born, she purchased a similar book for her precious daughter as well. By this time, she had added a number of new categories of things to collect along the way, so she purchased two other books in which to record cute expressions that either child uttered as they grew from infant, to toddler, to school-aged child to pre-teen. She also purchased scrapbooks to hold their artwork – one for each year. Then she bought storage bins to store the yearly scrapbooks; several treasured outfits; a number of her children’s favourite toys; their stories; their awards; their badges; their every milestone.

As the years went by, she also filled cute little shoe boxes with the miscellaneous love notes they wrote to her over the years. She bought more pretty little boxes to store notes from their teachers, their grandparents; their friends. Over the years, she filled assorted tiny glass jars with first teeth; buttons from various outfits they wore; feathers they collected from the family bird; abandoned whiskers from the family cat.

She had hundreds of photographs documenting every key moment of her children’s lives – the albums took up two full shelves in the family library, not to mention the doubles she kept here and there, ‘just in case’.

Never had a child’s life been better documented.

The collections – haphazardly started over so many years, were spread out all over the house. There were storage bins in the garage; shoe boxes in a number of closets; jars on windowsills; toys in drawers here and there. One sunny day, she thought that perhaps it was time to tidy everything up, somehow; to get everything in order and one place.

She turned to ask her children if they had any thoughts on the matter.

But her children were no longer there. At some point while she was carefully documenting every moment of their lives, they had grown up and moved into their own homes where they were now busy making memories of their own.

She picked up the phone and called to ask them if they might like to come and help her organise all the precious artifacts, but to her surprise and chagrin, neither had any interest in the bins of stored memories. They remembered their childhoods well enough, they both told her. They didn’t really need reminders: they had both been there, after all.

She stared around at the rooms full of silent, inert, bygone, frozen-in-time moments.

And wondered what she should start collecting now.

Source of photo

Patti Moore Wilson ©


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

18 thoughts on “The Collector”

  1. Patty I’m sure you were describing yourself I too have some tubs of school projects dresses baby clothes -they are meaningful to me but maybe not so much to my kids

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, indeed I was 😊😊😊 The one exception: I am making a concerted effort NOT to do any more collecting. I now know from experience that anything I collect will be one more thing for the kids to deal with when I’m gone. I am not very good at it (yet) but am trying my best to embrace minimalism…😊


  2. You are giving me a glimpse into my future….everyone keeps telling me to stop collecting because noone wants them at the end and that they’ll end up having to throw them all away on my behalf. So…I have started throwing things out. It’s so hard…because I know deep inside my heart…all the collecting is for me so that I can revisit all the memories one day. I love your writing, Patti…so easy for me to relate to…and I find comfort in reading them. Cheers to minimalism. I am all for it!

    Liked by 1 person

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