Growing up I was never a big collector of things. Sure, I had an armful of friendship bracelets (that I probably made 1/2 of), some puffy stickers in a pink and purple Lisa Frank sticker book, a smattering of My Little Ponies, and a socially acceptable amount of Barbies--but I didn't have a huge drive to collect things in mass quantity; beating out all my friends in a quest to have the most of something.
And as an adult--I'm still very much like that. I don't want to collect beads on a Pandora bracelet, I'm not loyal to any one brand of purse, I'm not a gadget person really, even though I love photography I own just the bare minimum of equipment to get me the pictures I want, and I have never owned one piece of crystal or china--let alone a collection of it. I suppose the only thing you could really say I'm a collector of is clothes and jewelry--and we're talking cheap junk for the most part people. Target tank-tops, Forever 21 fake rhinestone bracelets, knock off purses from Aldo, and a handful of J.Crew items I've found on clearance. And I have a lot of all of the above--it's true. But a discerning collector of them, I'm not.
The thing I've decided though, that I'm a collector of, and that I'll make sure no one has more of than me......is 'firsts' with Georgia. I hoard them, I protect them, I plan them, and I crave them. Parenting is really hard. Like the most. And the hard work that ensues in dealing with a slammed door in my face and a shriek of, "You don't love me anymore," (that's right--she's three) is paid for in the look of sheer joy on her face when I take her to the big park for the first time, to Fourth of July fireworks, dipping her toes in the ocean, her first American Girl doll, a crazy science experiment outside with her on the front lawn, or this past week.......school supply shopping for the first time.
While it is absolutely bittersweet for me that I was e-mailed a school supply list for pre-school because of everything that it means in terms of how old my G is getting, it was pure bliss for Georgia. She ran up and down the aisles of Target numerous times looking for the most perfect box of crayons, folder, set of dry erase markers, and even Kleenex boxes. I wanted her to get exactly what she wanted. As an educator--I firmly believe that making a big deal out of getting school supplies is like an appetizer to the great things that are to be once school starts. When kids start the year with pencils, and markers, and erasers that they are proud of they feel confident.......even pre-school kids. And confidence goes a long way in getting kids off to the right start at the beginning of a school year.
It was incredible to watch her deliberating over something so personal......like this folder that she had to pick out. It was a glimpse into her thought process that you only get with decisions like this. I could have easily chosen all of her supplies for her. It would have taken five minutes versus forty five. I could have predicted that she'd want a Cinderella folder over a Hello Kitty one--even though she loves both. But I wouldn't have been able to watch her little brain work.......I would have deprived her of a first.......and I would have deprived myself of a first as well. And as you know, I collect them.
Experiencing firsts with your kids is your payday, it cements that incredible bond that only you have with them, and it helps you get to know them better--even if you think that's not possible. Don't give them away, don't let other people steal them from you. They're part of your collection--they are invaluable and they are original only to the people who experience them first-hand. Make sure it's you.