From about age 10 until my daughter was born, I collected sea shells exactly one time. During that shell collection, I carefully selected each piece for symmetry, size, lack of blemishes and uniformity. Upon returning home, I gingerly washed each shell and, once dry, I popped a dollop of hot glue into the concave sections, followed by a small round magnet.
The shell magnets eventually found their way into little silky bags with drawstrings, placed proudly next to the dinner plate of each of my wedding guests. On the rare occasion that I am in the home of one of these guests, I often spot one of the wedding shell magnets on the refrigerator and can’t help but wonder if guilt was the only thing keeping that magnet from the garbage bin.
Ironically, also until my daughter was born, the wedding shell magnet story was a pretty fair proxy for my life – deliberate, well intended and productive, but punctuated by doubt as to any deeper meaning or purpose. But then.
Then along comes this little being, so full of need and wonder and newness. Imploring me to collect more and more sea shells. I try to encourage her to collect only the symmetric, perfectly uniform shells, but she will have none of it. Fragments of all sorts, including rocks and pieces of worn glass and little bits of other detritus are all “shells.” Or more accurately, treasures.
And of course how can I put a limit on the amount of treasure collected? Out of the pink pail and into my jacket pockets, until all pockets and pail are full. Wet, gritty, messy treasure. Did I mention that I am a clean freak?
In the interest of fair disclosure, I do wash and sort the shells from the not-so-much-a-shell objects, such that they now sit, gritty-mess-free, in a box in my daughter’s play room, augmented now and again by other likeminded treasures. She will occasionally take them from their perch to admire them, sort them, lay them out in funny little patterns, or show them to friends.
Sometimes when I ask my daughter what she would like to do, she’ll respond something like “how about a game? or a craft?”
“Or let’s collect seashells.”
Kelly is a mother and a long time friend of Creative Marbles partner, Art Baird. Kelly, husband and daughter live in Northern, CA. She graciously shares her experience about the joys of being a mother in celebration for Mother’s Day.
Photo Credit: Kelly 2012