Last year my son began collecting spent wooden matchsticks. They came from the story time candle his teacher lit every day, one by one squirreled into his empty lunch containers, his pants pockets, the mesh pouches of his backpack. He helped himself to the forbidden ziplock bags from my kitchen drawer.
The matches ruined laundry, one sooty head at a time. I flipped pockets inside out, searched. Threw my hands in the air. Slapped my forehead. He had no project in mind, no answers for me. I asked him to stop bringing them home. He asked me to stop throwing them away.
We could agree on one thing: keep the plastic bags sealed. Pinch the top, slide your fingers and listen for the snap. There. Shake-shake. All good. No black stuff.
Many of one thing can be beautiful, even coveted.
Many of one thing calls to the thief in us. The hoarder. The pick pocket.
I'm not ashamed to say I answered that call.
I have stolen my son's year of fire.