Christmas morning, one of my kids gave me a box of things-to-keep-me-warm: gloves, scarf, and an ear-warmer headband. I lifted the soft, aqua scarf from the box and wrapped it around my neck to wear the rest of the day.
Later, at dinner, I looked down at my lap—a layer of glitter speckled my pants and sweater, as if my lap were a cookie decorated with a few shakes of colored sugar. I shimmered a little in the candlelight.
Must be from some of the wrapping paper, I thought, flipping the scarf around my neck again, as it had unwound itself, one end dangling down, the fringe scraping my forearm.
That night, I shook out the pants and sweater and tossed them into the laundry. I set the scarf on the floor of the closet and didn’t wear it again until the temperatures dropped a week or so later. That first cold day of the new year, I flung the scarf around my neck and noticed glitter sliding down the front of my leather coat.
The scarf! I thought the strands of yarn were themselves glitzy, but they were dropping flecks like dandruff all over my coat and clothes as if someone had simply rolled the scarf in a pile of glitter before shipping it to the store. Everywhere I went, whether I sat, paused, or leaned against something or someone, I left a trail of fairy dust.
I amused myself with visions of young girls, wide-eyed with imagination, concocting stories of the Tooth Fairy tapping a wand against the chairs in the library or in the waiting room of the dentist’s office, but the glitter had to go. I couldn’t live with it dropping into the computer keyboard, let’s say, or the chili.
The kids had just sorted their dirty laundry, forming a mountain of sweatshirts, sweaters, socks and jeans in the basket of darks. I tossed them into the machine along with the scarf, measured out the soap and pressed start.
A few hours later, I plucked a few items from the top of that load and tossed them in the dryer or hung them up to dry. The deeper I moved into the layers, however, the more the items seemed to gleam. By the time I reached the last few T-shirts and jeans that had been sitting against the washer tub, I realized they were coated with glitter. Absolutely coated.
I left the shiniest stuff in there and ran a rinse cycle, hoping that would loosen up the clingy bits, but when I pulled them out a second time, those clothes still sparkled. I hung up most of them on the closet rod, hoping the glitter would drop off as they dried, but I checked the next morning. Each fleck stubbornly held fast to the fabric.
My son’s T-shirt has a rock star vibe; my daughter’s corduroys shimmer.
For a while, it seems that we will look a little flashy, like junior high girls dressing for a Justin Bieber concert.
And yet, when we head to church on Sunday morning, I like to think that our very presence, reflecting the light as we stand to pray or praise, might remind the people sitting behind us to head back into the world and shine like stars.
Credits: Photos by Ann Kroeker. All rights and glitter reserved.