CULTURE: A Button Collection at the Boise Public Library

I'm a collector of things, so it's no wonder Lucy was born with the habit as well. I collect Paint-by-Number paintings and old souvenir travel plates and vintage Tupperware and Pyrex, in addition to Vera scarves and tiny bird sculptures and my old pregnancy tests. I'd have a hundred little odd collections if I didn't consciously limit myself and also have the need to purge on occasion. (I am working on being more balanced in my life rather than my usual imbalanced.) The love of teeny objects runs in the family and a little over a year ago Lucy began collecting buttons. We find vintage ones at garage sales and cute shaped ones on clearance at JoAnn's.

She started pinning them to corkboards like material specimens and labeling them in her own categorical way: plastic, metal, silk, etc. My favorite labels are 'pirate' (for nautical themed buttons) and 'stars' (for star-shaped buttons, of course). A large plastic ice cream bucket holds all her buttons until she has time to sort and pin them, and the button boards used to hang on her bedroom wall until Alice got big enough to attempt eating them.

Our favorite neighborhood library, the Hillcrest Branch of the Boise Public Library system, sits in a mid-century outdoor strip mall on the corner of Overland and Orchard Avenues. It's fairly new and we've spent a great deal of time here for storytime, art classes, selecting weekend movies and picking up requested books. This cute wooden display case sits right next to the front door.

The library allows locals to display their quirky individual collections in it for a month at a time. We always love exploring the case; during February it hosted a beautiful group of antique paper Valentines. Last month was a collection of Star Trek memorabilia, exhibited by our local Trekkie club. Lucy was chosen as the exhibitor for the month of June, and she spent several days labeling and reorganizing and planning her display.

I love that this exists, I love that people collect things and I love to explore the reasons why. It's fun, it's a hobby, it's an addiction, it's a comfort. At least, that's why I collect, and I think Lucy is just trying to make sense of the world. She's a very creative little lady, and her attention to detail is amazing. She's growing in so many ways lately that my bones are aching just watching her. Besides losing teeth, this week marks her learning to ride a bike on two wheels and her first sleepover at a friend's house. All these seemingly unconnected and small life acts are pulling her a little further from me and a little more into her own. Whether it's buttons or rocks or bottlecaps or Matchbox cars, mentoring a little collection in your little collector (or just taking your kids to see other collections at museums and such) can be a learning and growing experience for you both.