I deep cleaned our minivan today. And it occurs to me that my two oldest have a whole secret life back there of which I am only vaguely aware.

It’s amazing how much the treasures we squirrel away say about our lives. Our trash too tells a story, about what we consume and how we care for our possessions.

I remember once going to a professor’s home where he had the kids in shared rooms. There were 3 sets of bunk beds in one room. Another room was the “changing room” with dressers. He said that the kids liked to be together, and it just worked out well for their family that way. But they also valued the fact that every person needs a place to have some level of privacy. For these kids, they each could keep their personal stuffed animals on their bed and their favorite paper items pinned to their own bulletin board above their mattress. That was their sacred spot, untouchable by a sibling unless invited. And while my more grown-up mind mulled over the interesting lessons about privacy and personal possessions and expectations of communal life that this arrangement facilitated, my emotions were arrested by the contents of the bulletin boards. Each was a small window into that child’s imagination and interests. Our culture might say that a child would need more space to be an individual, but these kids showed that their very proximity and bond with each other highlighted their differences and passions to great effect.

Anyways, while I would rather that my children’s collections NOT include the ancient apple core and bits of soccer snack foil I found, I hope that they feel free to explore the feelings of wonder they have for the forgotten treasures they happen upon. (More flotsam, less jetsam, capisci?) I hope that our home communicates to those who visit that my husband and I have not yet lost our sense of wonder either. And this is why you may discover my collection of favorite feathers in the cabinet above the washer and Maggie’s in the space between her bed mattress and the frame. Perhaps we need more bulletin boards …

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