This weekend I made a birthday banner out of glittery scrap paper, and cleaning it was a mess. Every family member in the house, including the dog, has glitter on their face and hair. And for some bizarre reason, as I was carefully trying to remove a speck of glitter from my lower eyelid, a strange memory came back to me. It was one of those moments where you wonder what else is stored in the brain, when something that happened so long ago comes rushing to the surface like it was yesterday, but forgotten until right now.
When I was younger, probably early elementary school, so let’s say 7 or 8 years old tops, my family and I were at the mall one night during Christmas time. I remember it being late for us to be out, but I don’t remember specifically what my Mom would have been shopping for. We stopped in a home decorating store and while my parents were browsing, I wandered off and saw these artificial holly leaves covered in silver glitter. I touched one and my fingers became sparkly.
For some reason, my little 8-year-old brain thought, ooh, glitter! Ooh, I bet I would look like a ballerina if I had this glitter on my face. Maybe if I put enough on there, the cashier will think I just came from a dance recital, where I was a beautiful sparkly ballerina!
Nevermind that I was wearing regular clothes, my hair was probably unwashed and unstyled (not sleek and pulled back like a ballerina), and I had absolutely none of the grace and charm that a dancer has, even an eight-year-old one. But I went ahead and rubbed that holly branch all over my face. Proud of what I had done (and without looking in a mirror!), I stood up a bit straighter and looked for Mom & Dad, who, luckily, were standing right by the cash register.
Instead of impressing the cashier (and why was this so important to me?), my parents just looked at me and one of them said, ” You have glitter all over your face. What did you touch?” I feigned surprise and ignorance. Like I was going to tell them the truth – that I thought it would make me look like a dancer.
All these years later, even though I had forgotten about this moment until today, I can still feel the embarrassment I felt back then, realizing, “Duh, Of course I don’t look like a dancer. I look like a kid with glitter on her face.” Poor little Nicole. I hope I realize that one day when my little girl comes up to me with glitter all over her face at a home decorating store, instead of assuming she touched something, I’ll know her intentions and just loudly say in front of the cashier (who is *very* interested in our lives), “My goodness, Maggie! We forgot to take off your dance recital make up, my beautiful ballerina daughter!”
But I probably won’t remember to do that.