When my daughter was very young she was quiet for a good 20 minutes. I was lost in the land of accomplishment getting the dishes done. Suddenly I realized silence might mean trouble and I went in search of her.
I found her in the bathroom standing next to a mountain of toilet paper. “Watch Mom,” she said, “I can make it balloon up.” She gave the toilet paper a good hard spin making it fly in an arc before it traced its way onto the fluffy mound she’d already made.
I must admit that for the briefest of moments I was transported by a flash of wonder at the flying spectacle that white streak made as it traced its way to the floor. But quickly I snapped into parental mode. We had to get this stuff cleaned up. This was wasteful. This was a mess. My poor daughter’s joy came to an abrupt halt.
I told my mother the story and, when my daughter went to her house that week for a few hours while I worked, there was a package waiting for her: a big multi-pack of toilet paper. She spent her day in glorious spinning. When I arrived I found a mountain of toilet paper set in a basket to be used that way instead of from the roll. Everyone was laughing.
This is the difference between parents and grandparents.
I realized I wanted to put some grandparent-liness into my parenting.
I have always had a love/hate relationship with confetti. I adore that blissful moment when little pieces of paper are hovering around making the air as magic as the inside of a snow globe. But I can never fully relax because I’m always thinking, “This will be a monster to clean up.” I have trouble with diving into the now of confetti.
It’s something my daughter taught me I really need to learn. Who wants to go through life not understanding how wonderful it is to spin the toilet paper? She was filled with 2-year old joy. And it was so simply attained. I don’t want to spend my life letting those moments pass me by because I’m worried about the cleanup.
Consequently I’ve coined the phrase beauty confetti, and I look for it to rain down on me with regularity. Sometimes it’s messy, sometimes not. Beauty abounds around me in simple and elegant ways. I live in a snow globe of beauty and I’m going to enjoy the mess of it because life can be reordered simply by placing a basket in the bathroom where a toilet paper dispenser once was.
Beauty confetti is a way of thinking. The broken pieces of my favorite goblet are now the perfect size to go into my next stepping stone sculpture. The snow storm that kept me from traveling is a perfect opportunity to build a fort. The stinky dog that rolled in who-knows-what provides the beginning of an afternoon water fight with my kids. Life doesn’t have an agenda. Life is a series of random pieces ready to make a kaleidoscope.
Beauty will seduce me if I allow it into the most mundane of settings. Do you ever struggle with the challenge of this paradox: beauty that meets mess? Have you ever been surprised by a winning combination while lost in a snow globe of beauty confetti?