Today I took a walk with the baby and my 4-year-old, Max. He spotted a piece of broken blue plastic on the sidewalk. "Look, Mama, a treasure!" He scooped up the glorified garbage and examined every side of it.
I love his appreciation of small, overlooked objects. It reminds me of a Pippi Longstocking chapter in which she and her friends become thing-finders and dredge up all sorts of beautiful random objects during their wanderings.
And then Max dropped the piece of blue plastic. He spent the next 5 blocks crying over his paradise lost, until I found a broken butterfly barette and a bread tag by the Vernon Elementary playground.
Where does this kind of obsessiveness come from? In my attempts to have him find the beauty in everyday things, have I made him a little insane? It would be nice to blame someone else, like my Nana who crammed random items in old cigar boxes and refused to throw any of it away. Or my sister who kept every note and postcard anyone wrote her. And my husband who, as I write, is rummaging through one of his many dream notebooks, quoting dreams from years gone by.
But I have to face facts. After all, wasn't I the one who consoled him by extolling the beauty of discarded hair accessories?