I try not to use the word “hate.” From day one, my wife and I have taught Jessie to love. Should she encounter something unpleasant, like having spinach on her plate, she knows, “I hate spinach” will draw a parental response.
In being a good role model for Jessie, I hate to start off … whoops, let me rephrase. I’d rather begin the following paragraph differently, but hey, sometimes you must call it as you see it. And I’ve seen way too much of it.
I hate glitter! I’d hang “No Glitter Allowed” signs in each room of the house if it were up to me. This thought crossed my mind after the following experience.
Shortly before Valentine’s Day, Jessie, then age 9, decided to make homemade valentines. I’m glad she has lots of friends and family members and enjoys sharing her love with them. But then I hear, “Can I use glitter?” Jessie always seems to ask this question right after I vacuum the floors. My typical response – grumbled – is “not glitter,” but I usually follow up with, “Go ahead, but keep the glitter on the table.”
On this day, I worked on a column in my office while Jessie cut pink and red valentines from construction paper at the kitchen table and decorated them with stickers and glitter. Music blared as Jessie sang along to Gloria Estefan’s “1-2-3.” She glittered away happily, while I tried to focus on typing a few quality paragraphs of prose.
As dinnertime drew near, I walked into the kitchen to see if the glitter had stayed on the construction paper. It had not. Glitter sparkled everywhere! I should have checked sooner when Jessie commented, “Dad, you’ll have to vacuum out the dog’s cage.”
I wrote an email to a writer friend, while Jessie vacuumed. My email summed up my feelings at the time (before I vacuumed again to capture the sparkles Jessie missed).
“I tried to get a little writing done while my daughter made valentines at the kitchen table. I HATE GLITTER! I just surveyed the damage, and I’m afraid that on this first day of February, my writing career has come to an end as I’ll be vacuuming for the rest of my life. There’s glitter in the hallways, living room, kitchen, dog cage, and even my desk chair … that I’ve been sitting in for the last hour. I even have glitter on my keyboard.”
Okay, you probably get the point, and yes, I was a little melodramatic. Nevertheless, I still needed to sing Gloria Estefan’s song, “1,2,3” and count well past ten to keep my composure. I had just vacuumed the house two days earlier. Maybe I need a new vacuum as flecks of glitter always remain, even after my most diligent attempts to remove the pesky bits of sparkle. Oh well, it’s time for Jessie’s point of view.
Jessie, Age 9
I love glitter!!! My dad, well it’s safe to say he hates it. Different colors, sparkles, perfect. Why does my dad hate glitter? He hates the mess it makes. I mean, he doesn’t mind vacuuming. It’s just that no matter how many times he vacuums it’s still everywhere. I don’t understand why he just doesn’t see my perspective. I get to make cute cards (or drawings) for my best friends. What’s not to love about that? I mean really? What does he want me to do? Sequins make just as big of a mess. Well, I guess we’re always going to disagree about some things.
A week has passed since Jessie made valentines. My desk chair still has a fleck of glitter on it. I didn’t leave it there intentionally, but when I see the sparkle, I don’t need to count to ten. Instead, it reminds me of what’s important in life and that I should not hate. I can tell you already, I’m never going to love glitter. However, maybe one day I can get to “disliking” it.
But whether glitter is liked or disliked in this family, one thing is certain ’tween daughter and dad, I love my girl and my girl loves me.
Until next month, remember to cherish the moments, even while vacuuming.