From Bitter to Glitter: Trying to find the sparkle in the Worst Birthday Party Ever

At bedtime the Birthday Girl was elated and wouldn’t stop talking about all the great presents she received at her party. At one point she clutched some glitter pens that came with one of her gifts and said euphorically, “Mommy, today was the best day EVER! Because, [raises glitter pens up high] GLITTER!”

I looked at my sweet, gleeful daughter with equal parts awe, relief, and appreciation. She was not dwelling on her previous misery or disappointment; she felt no shame or embarrassment; all she felt in that moment was pure joy. Because, glitter.


According to Wikipedia, glitter “describes an assortment of very small, flat, reflective particles. When particles are applied to surfaces, they reflect light at different angles, causing the surface to sparkle or shimmer.”  That’s exactly what my girl did tonight. She applied her current good mood to her earlier frustration and saw her day from a different angle, causing the whole day to sparkle and shimmer and brighten any lurking darkness.

I need to do more of that. Forget the bitter and focus on the glitter.  My glitter today was seeing my four-year-old’s eyes light up as she regaled me with animated descriptions of each of her gifts. My glitter today was tucking her in her bed and hearing her say, “I love you Mommy” (it was almost enough to make me forget her saying, “I hate this party and it’s all your fault, Mommy!” earlier in the day). My glitter today was lying down in her bed next to her after she fell asleep, listening to her deep, calm breaths, and remembering how soundly she used to sleep on top of me just four short years ago.

It’s true that “all that glitters is not gold.”  Sometimes really crappy, stressful, embarrassing, painful things can also glitter, if you allow yourself to see it.


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