My Son, The Rock Collector
This reminded me of Sean, until I get the real ones.
Why I am Writing This
Sean, my son, was born on January 6th 1995. Little Christmas they call it. He is as different from my girls as he can be, but in some ways like each of them.
This story is about how Sean became the rock collector he is today, and was inspired by Figment's hub on Mississippi Agates. Sean has been collecting rocks for quite some time as you will see, but it was Figment's Hubnugget nomination that brought me to her Hub, and the reason behind actually telling this story.
In her Hub, Figment has done amazing research into the meanings of stones, and what they are supposed to do for us. In reading her Hub I thought of how ironic it was that Sean was an avid rock collector from such a young age, and that he suffered from some of the ailments Figment described, such as nightmares and insomnia.
When I started here, I had intended to write hubs about all of my family, so that they could get to know each other. Spread out from coast to coast, I have relatives I have never met, and so do my children.
All about Sean
Before Sean was born I was working a full time job and knew i would need child care. A local friend was chosen long before he was born. For the sake of argument, since she has since passed on, I will call her Bea. I do not know if her family will like me writing about her as we have lost touch in the nearly 10 years since her passing.
She and Sean loved each other from the start, but he was not the only child there, and so learned patience at a very young age, and still demands patience even now. He does not like to be pushed, rushed or bothered, and doesn't like it if someone does those things to anybody he is friends with. Like a rock, he does not change.
When he was old enough to start walking to the baby-sitter's house, just doors away, he started finding rocks, and stopped to put one or two in his pocket. His sisters didn't see any harm as they were often clean decorative rocks and no one seemed to mind if he took a couple. He wasn't even two yet.
As time wore on and the children got older, Bea started "playing school" with them while their older siblings were in school. At the end of this session, she would tell the kids, okay, go get your backpacks to put your work away. The children would all run and get theirs, but Sean would sit patiently and wait for the next game.
One day, Bea's sister said, "Why does Seany (they all called him Seany) just sit there when the kids put their work away."
"Oh he doesn't have a backpack, he walks down here." Bea replied.
Well the next thing you know, her sister went and bought my son a backpack! I didn't know he needed one! So now whenever Bea would announce to put away their work, Seany would jump up and shout:"I dot batpat!" and run to put his work in it.
One day, many weeks later, as Bea was tucking things into the backpacks for the children to take home, the strap on Sean's backpack broke, and hit the floor with a thud. She found it was heavy to lift and looked to see what he had in there. It was full of rocks. Each day when he got home, he would put whatever rocks he had found in the backpack, and bring us his drawings and whatever worksheets he had finished for the day.
As Time Wore On
Now that we knew of his obsession we started cleaning out his new backpack every day. He loved his rocks and in addition to those was collecting assorted shells, and even some interesting fossil formations as well as pieces of coral.
This is possible because we live in West Palm Beach Florida, and you don't have to go down very far to hit some amazing rock formations. The streets here were predominantly shell rock for a very long time, so that when you walk across a busy road and look down you will see pieces of shell in the pavement.
Whenever we would go anywhere with Sean he would bring back rocks. Whenever we went somewhere without him, we would bring him rocks back. Even when we took him to the Science Museums, he would choose a bag of rocks for a souvenir, rather than the amazing toys.
When Sean looks at rocks, when he handles them, he sees and feels something different in each one. Some hold memories of places he has been and things he has done. Others are a mystery, that he likes to try to solve, how old is the rock, what might have made these marks.
He was so fascinated that I bought him a rock tumbler, thinking this would be the perfect gift. Not for Sean. This bag of rocks had no meaning. A factory somewhere chose the rocks to include in the kit. Nothing like the stones we chose, or he chose, or the ones we found that we were sure he would like. And especially nothing like the ones he found, and was sure we would like.
To Sean, those little holes and lines, the fine designs in the smallest seashell, or stone, are the tracks of history. These formations were made by something.
Now, having worked on the road crew of an Electrical Contractor, for the past 5 years, I have been able to bring actual jaw bones of various creatures, found when we were digging. I bring these home and we examine the structure, trying to guess what animal they might have come from, before looking them up on the internet to try and find a match. I know it probably sounds silly, and the guys at work thought I was out of my mind whenever I would say, "Oh can I have that? My son will love it!"
They must have thought, "Poor kid, his mom brings him home skulls and rocks!"
Although he is Fifteen now, and in a hurry to learn to drive, Sean's fascination with his collections continues. He can tell you things that will astound you, because he has an interest in them. He does not get the best grades in school, and hates to go. But I guarantee, the days they do anything involving geology, Sean teaches the teacher a thing or two. For this reason they expect more from him about other things.
His take on it is this:"If those things interested me I would be good with them too. But they bore me. I know rocks, and bones and sea creatures and dinosaurs. I can tell if a photo is real or fake, and I can tell if someone is lying to me. Just because I am not interested in rainbows or clouds or averages doesn't mean I am not trying. They just bore me. It is easy to get a good grade, but it is hard to do work that makes no sense. Rocks, bones, fossils, shells... They make sense to me. I can read them better than words."