Monday, June 3, 2013

A Button Jar


Nothing is more soothing or inspiring
than thousands of buttons. 
As I was moseying through an antique store, I suddenly became desperately distracted. Within seconds, I was transported back in time and transformed into a mesmerized child of eight. You see, I happened upon a giant tub of buttons. It was glorious. I spent the next twenty minutes running my hands through the immense collection. I would have stayed longer, but Hubby felt I had lingered too long. He ushered me away as he apologized to the clerk for leaving me unsupervised for so long.

When folks were more prudent and less wasteful, lots of homes had a button jar. When I was a child, ours was located on the second shelf of the big closet in the hallway. If a dress, pair of slacks, or shirt needed a new button, odds were my mom had a near, if not exact, match in her button jar.

People who grow up with a button jar tend to habitually save the extra buttons that come with new clothing. Had I been as sensible as my grandparents, I would have also saved the buttons from the clothes we discarded over the years. But alas, my button jar is desperately lacking. This disturbs me not because I have an intense need to mend clothes. Rather, because I absolutely must have a button jar for my future grandchildren to enjoy.

My mother's button jar afforded me thousands of hours of entertainment. I was mesmerized by the collection. I loved the feeling of sifting my hands through hundreds of buttons. Sometimes I would dump them all out and group them by color. I made several button necklaces. With a little glue and construction paper, I also created a few button artwork masterpieces. The colors, shapes, and textures kept my imagination and fingers busy for hours at a time.

The humble seeds of my future
button jar. Someday, I will have a button
jar my grandchildren will always remember.
Clearly I failed as a parent by not having a button jar for my own children. Should they fail at anything in life, I will have to blame their buttonless childhood. While I will be plagued by guilt as long as I live, I do plan to make amends by ensuring the next generation has access to a button jar. I've already gathered the buttons strewn in various drawers throughout the house. Even so, there are very few buttons in my jar. But that's okay because I still have time. My children are no where near ready for marriage or children just yet. Plus, once the babies do start arriving, they have to age a bit before they will be old enough to play with the buttons. No one under four will be allowed to play with this grandma's buttons because they are, in all honesty, a choking hazard.

For the next decade, stray buttons within my reach will be snatched up and added to my collection. I will not stop gathering buttons until I have hundreds, or maybe even thousands. My future grandchildren will have access to the button jar. But relax, as they will be supervised in their play. Together, we will sift, measure, arrange, and create for hours.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 

Email: mickibare (at) gmail.com
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