[twitter]I still remember Zacharie’s first haircut. A friend did at-home hair styling, and when my wife and her girlfriend were having theirs done, the stylist offered to give our 15 month old Zacharie his first snip. We still have that little lock of hair in a baggie and envelope in his memento shoe box.
I remember this because I cracked open the box high up on a shelf in my office this week. My son is now nearly 8 and lost another tooth. Just as I did with the hair, and the half dozen teeth that dropped out the past 2 years, I scribbled the date on a post it note and put it and the tooth in a small baggie to be placed in the shoe box.
Yes, after the Tooth Fairy comes, daddy rolls in and adds to his creepy collection of teeth and hair that only Ke$ha could appreciate.
Why do I still have those teeth? Why do I still have that lock of hair?
I get the sentimentality of collecting certain things from our kids. Every spring and fall, when we change out the boys’ clothes, we do an inventory. Which shirts get handed down, which shirts get sold, which ones get put in that little tub in the bottom of the closet to be remembered forever.
We have a few of our favorite onesies in there. We have sweaters that were knit by Nanas in there. I don’t know if we’re saving them for our grandchildren, or if we’re saving them just to remember our favorite tiny baby swaddling days, but we’re saving them.
Same goes for toys. While most of the toys my boys get tired of are donated to schools, sold at garage sales, or passed over to cousins, there are a few making their way to the tub. My mom and dad did this, saving a few dozen sturdy Fisher-Price toys for nearly 30 years while they awaited the arrival of grandchildren. Now, when my boys visit Nana’s house, they play with my old digger, my old plane, my old camper on string. I love it.
And maybe that’s why I save these things. Because my mom did. And she saved those things because her mom did.
Before my grandmother died, she handed me a box of all the things she had collected about me over her lifetime. There were Christmas cards I had sent her as a child, letters I had written her as a teen, my birth announcement was in the box. And also there, in a small envelope, was a tiny lock of hair. Mine, from my first haircut some 40+ years ago.
I look over the box of things I’m saving for my sons and I think it’s a little ridiculous. And then I remember the feeling I had when my grandmother handed me that box and I looked through it for the first time.
I had chills.
So I will collect cards, scraps of paper, locks of hair, and random teeth. Not for me, but for my boys. In 30 or 40 years, I’ll hand them the boxes and then they can understand why they too are saving random things.
To remember. To pass on. To feel connected to other generations.