All that glitters is not gold, but Caroline is 2016.04.20


I don’t know if my five-year-old granddaughter Caroline was subtly commenting on the state of our house—or if she’s just heavily under the influence of a popular series of books she enjoys—when she made an attempt to improve things Friday morning. 

Her love of Jane O’Connor’s “Fancy Nancy” books seemed to be the spark behind her actions and glaringly pointed out the need for David and me to perform a deep cleaning and go on a de-cluttering expedition through every room, every shelf, every nook and cranny of our house.

I arrived downstairs just after 8:30 a.m. on Friday—very early morning for for me, especially when the library doesn’t open until 1 p.m.

I walked into the kitchen and was immediately drawn to the kitchen table where I spied two glasses filled with water—each with a thick layer of bright purple glitter floating on top. “Oh, boy, I thought. Caroline has gotten into some glitter.

I turned toward the sink and cupboards to get myself a glass of water and discovered in the sink a pot soaking from the previous night—completely covered with purple glitter. Then a coffee cup full of glitter jumped out at me and the dish drainer and the dish drying mat.

I don’t know at what point in my life I went from fully embracing glitter in all its forms and uses to extolling the virtues of glitter glue (fully encapsulated glitter!) to inwardly cringing at the sight of it. I think I must have encountered a particularly hard batch to clean up after at the library or maybe I got one of those tiny bits of beauty in my eye and had a hard time getting it out. 

I have a really low tolerance for foreign things in my eyes. It’s an unfortunate trait because it means I can’t wear contacts. I can’t even look at people when they’re putting contacts in their gives me a serious case of the willies and the heebie jeebies combined. I should probably take drugs when I go to the eye doctor. Luckily for me I was hitting 50 before I needed glasses.

But I didn’t need glasses to see Caroline’s foray into fanciness. As much as I dreaded the clean up process, I was amused and curious by this unique use of glitter. I walked into the living room and in a very neutral voice said, “Caroline, tell me about the purple glitter.”

With great enthusiasm and exuberance and seemingly so excited that somebody noticed her work, she said, “I was making the house fancy! Let me show you!” And she proceeded to give me a guided tour of the glitter sites, sites I hadn’t noticed on my own. (Maybe I did need glasses…)

“See?” she said, her arm sweeping to encompass the area of her work, then pointing to the two glasses I had first encountered. She directed me to the sink and then pointed down, “I even put some on the floor!”

I don’t know how I missed that, or the massive amounts on the counter between the microwave and the stove, the glitter in an upside down cup, the glitter sprinkled around stray utensils, the glitter in an empty pot on the stove, the glitter in a ring around a burner.

At the end of this tour, she pointed me to a nifty uniquely shaped cylindrical plastic item I bought in the gift shop at the art museum in Denver. It’s one of those single-use items and although I’m not a fan of single-use items, I love this thing. When you get to the bottom of a jar of oil or ketchup or whatever, you turn it upside down and place the neck in the cylinder. The remaining contents fall to the top of the bottle and you get every last drop. No matter the size of the bottle, nothing tips it over when it’s nestled in this device. 

Caroline lifted the cylinder—the great reveal—and there was the nicest little pile of purple glitter. It made me laugh out loud—another use for the cylinder! I love this child.