Crowded. Packed. Stuffed.


I save. I keep shoeboxes of letters, files of graduate school notes, baby books and photo albums and boxes with the tiny outfits the boys wore so briefly years ago.

I dump. I keep a box in the garage which I fill for a regular Goodwill run, recycle Christmas cards, send magazines to preschool for collages, purge closets of outgrown clothes.

Eli is a saver. More than that, he is a collector. He comes home from school with his pockets full: a scrap of ribbon, a pebble, a leaf. He arranges his treasures on his bedside table (pictured above) on which he also displays souvenirs acquired along the way (a model Eiffel tower; a photo taken at the Empire State Building; my Dad’s old pocket watch); art projects (a wood train engine he painted at a party; a shoebox diorama; a pottery cat); books (Goodnight, Moon; Frog and Toad; Maisy’s Favorite Animals); toys (a windup frog; a windup train; a handful of beads). He touches them carefully before naptime or bed, making sure everything is in its proper place, shifting them slightly to make room for a new addition. Luckily his little table has a drawer, which is getting full, but still has some room for whatever catches his eye. And although I do a regular sweep of the boys’ room to disappear ignored toys and toss torn drawings, I won’t touch his table. It’s an art project in progress.

Leave a Reply