Birthday Glitter: Choosing Happiness over Perfection

“Mommy, my birthday party was excellent!” my now 6 year old daughter informed me. Even though it rained so hard that we had to move everything inside our little house, we worked the situation to create more closeness between the moms in attendance.  Working together we moved the chairs and games that had been spread out across our yard into the tight space of our living room and carried on like that had always been the plan.

The party had started out with the girls making their own hats at the “Glitter Table.”  There were glue sticks and bowls of glitter and sequins laid out on the table for them to use as they pleased. They loved it.

Over the course of the party the glitter migrated all over the place. I did not clean it off of my husband’s cheek because it complimented his face so nicely. Later I noticed that one of my chickens had some in her feathers.

We still have some balloons up but things are getting back to post-birthday-party normal. Now that school has started again, we are adjusting to the new schedule, new teacher and new challenges of first grade. We are still getting used to having to get up at 6:30 and make it to school with all the important pieces in their tidy places.

Which leads me to wonder out loud. Is it just our household or do you also have these moments when you notice that your kid is the one with the stain on their shirt? In our case, my girl’s shiny, straight, bobbed, black hair sometimes sends out a rebellious group of strands that refuse to yield to water or the blow dryer just as we are ready to head out the door for school.  There is nothing that can done to get that fixed and still get her to school on time.

To my eye, other moms obviously have perfectly calm, stainless homes from which their kids are sent forth into the world with everything just right. Their children hold still compliantly while they create works of hair art that would have wowed any 70’s macramé crafter. I do my best but sometimes the unexpected can happen like my daughter stepping in a glob of cement where workers are paving our road.

I tell myself that if I just get up earlier, or get more sleep, then we’ll do better at getting things together for school. But there are moments when I have to step back from some unexpected frustration or glitch in our routine and try to get myself into a more mindful state. In the midst of a mini-panic over the temporarily lost shoe, I try to remember to breathe so I can get my composure back quickly. She is watching my every move, my every expression. I’d rather model how to act with the grace of going with the flow. It helps if I recall what really matters most, like my child’s self esteem or our relationship or setting a good tone for the start of one’s day.

When nothing can be done, it is better just to surrender and laugh. After all, haven’t you noticed how Life itself has a sense of humor as it serves up challenge after challenge specifically tailored to make us open up and learn how to become increasingly freer beings?

On this journey of raising children into emotionally whole people, there’s no point in giving our energy to fleeting things that have little real consequence for the larger purposes of parenting.  So I remind myself that expressing the reflex of judging myself by the quality of the shoes or some other superficial thing, really, is not being true to who I am as parent.

I can choose instead to do my best for my daughter while keeping in mind the woman that she will become one day. If that means giving up on trying to get that hair to lay down, I will do so with a chuckle so that our day, her day, starts with happiness in place. Happiness will lay straight without us having to do anything to it. It is superb grease for moments when there is a potential for friction.

This morning I dropped my excellent birthday child off for day-two of first grade. The store that sells the required school uniforms only had skirts that were so poorly made that I opted out from buying one until more come in. She went to school wearing her favorite purple dress that she picked out. The sweater was clean but did not match. She wore her old shoes since the new ones Papa bought are two sizes too big.

At the door of the school, I bent down to bless and protect my child with a Mama Kiss. All along the part of her hair was a lovely splashing of glitter.  She told me she’d been doing her “homework” in the morning. From the kitchen I had heard her singing and working in the other room.

So I kissed her head and watched her trot off with the new backpack bouncing up and down on her back. She ran into the classroom to join the little girls who’d spent Saturday making candy necklaces on the rug in our living room while it poured rain outside. Probably there’s a little glitter on the school path now.

“That’s how they’ll know she’s mine,” I told the lady selling candy and juice at the door. She’d overheard me discover the glitter.  She handed me pack of gum as a gift for making her laugh.

May your life be sprinkled with glitter to remind you of what matters –Dr. Tamara

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About ourcozytime

I am a poet, writer, mother, and psychologist living in the tropical high country of the Sierra Madre mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. I write at the Escuela de Agroecología y Permacultura Tierra Linda, a demonstration farm where I have taught over a thousand local people to grow their own organic food. With the view out my window of cornfields on steep volcanic slopes, it is not hard to imagine that caterpillars, birds, butterflies, and rainbows can speak. My deepest wish is to participate in the transformation of human culture toward the creation of a sustainable global society that honors all Life.

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