It was the first stretch of quiet I’d had all Winter Break. I was relishing the alone time upstairs. The baby was napping. The oldest two were playing with friends outside. And Milo was quiet. Too quiet. The kind of quiet that spells disaster.
I wanted to savor the quiet, but I knew (as every parent does) that something was underway down there. Something messy, gross, destructive.
I found Milo painting at the kitchen table. There was paint everywhere. But worse, he’d found glitter. He was not measured with it — Milo doesn’t do anything just a little bit. Someone once told me that glitter is a special gift from Satan. If I hadn’t intentionally told myself to pause, to take a breath, I might have been right there with them.
Sometimes the pause is everything.
Milo looked at me with a twinkling face — his eyes, yes, but he also had glitter all over it, so he was a very mischievous-looking twinkling little elf. He’d poured four containers of glitter onto his wet paint. He put glitter in the water. He rubbed his hands all over it on the page. At some point, he went to the bathroom. I know because there were little glitter footprints and a special glitter fingerprint on the toilet handle. (At least he flushed.) There was glitter on the cupboards, refrigerator, wall, carpet, windows, light switches.
I could have lost it. Thank God for the pause.
“Look, Mommy! I made everything in our house beautiful and sparkly! I wanted to make it for you! Are you so, so proud of me for making our house so pretty? Look! Everything I touch becomes pretty!” His giant blue eyes were hopeful, proud, waiting.
And that was my moment. The pause gave me perspective to see the room through his eyes. In truth, it was more than pretty. He showed me his glitter water, wondering, “Have you ever seen such beautiful water?” No, buddy. I haven’t.
He beamed at his painting, “Do you like my universe? Don’t you think it’s so, so beautiful?”
“Oh, buddy. It is beautiful. I love it.”
He wrapped his arms around my neck, glitter working it’s way between the threads of my sweater (forever), then pressed glitter-covered palms onto my cheeks and planted a wet glitter-laced kiss. He pulled away, grin wide, “Now you’re even more beautiful than before, Mommy.”
I know we’ll find glitter in this house for years. To get rid of it all, we’d have to burn the place to the ground. But each time I see it, I’ll remember the pause. I’ll remember the joy. I’ll remember that this universe is indeed beautiful, if only we look for the sparkles.