As a teenager, I enjoyed making myself a little stamp collection. It turns out that my Mammaw had kept every greeting card and letter that she'd ever been mailed, and in return for sorting out all those sent by now-divorced former relatives, I clipped decades' worth of postage stamps, carefully soaked them away from their envelope paper, moistened hinges, and mounted them in a stamp album.
Fast-forward a few decades of my own time. I still have my stamp album, I still like postage stamps a lot, and yes, now that I rarely get real mail anymore, I have been buying the odd set of postage stamps, generally these themed collections from Western Mountain Stamp and Coin. I thought that the girls might like stamp collecting, too, on account of it's awesome, so to start them off I gave them some stamp sets (I've bought WMSC's dinosaur set, horse set, and cat set, and I'm pretty sure that I will soon own a Disney set and a U.S. set or two), a little Moleskine journal each, and a glue stick.
My theory was that the children would neatly mount each stamp, nice and orderly and organized, into their stamp books using the glue stick (which can be soaked away later when they're ready for big girl stamp albums). Perhaps they'd want to tidily label each stamp! Perhaps they'd want to research the country of origin of each stamp! Perhaps they'd beg me to take them to stamp collectors' meetings and expos where they could spend their allowances on rare stamps!
As a good mother, I'd attend stamp collectors' meetings and expos with my children. That's just what a good mother DOES, don't you know?
Well...my fantasy isn't *exactly how the kids use their stamps and beginner stamp albums:
|They do love looking at postage stamps, just as I do.|
|They do love sorting through their stamp collection, just as I do.|
|It's the albums perhaps aren't quite as neat as I'd imagined.|
So yes, the albums are messy enough to make a "real" stamp collector gasp, but love them, my girls do. And if they're going to sit with their stamps, happy as clams, and make the messiest stamp albums ever known, then I'm going to be happy, too.
Because I look at them that happy, sorting through stamps and gluing them untidily in their little books, and I see stamp collectors, just like I'd hoped they would be.