Wearing Out


My daughter has a new mermaid costume.

She has left a trail of purple glitter all over this house…upstairs, downstairs, the driveway, the yard, her bed, in the potty, on my face and in my hair.

At first, when she discovered the bag, I was reluctant to let her play with it. I wanted to save it in pristine condition for the Halloween festivities. Reluctantly, I finally gave in but I followed her around telling her that mermaids didn’t climb on things in their pretty dresses or slide around on the floor.

Brace yourself for a flashback:

My mother and father had purchased a beautiful cedar picnic table. My mother envisioned family picnics in the yard under the trees. She was giddy with excitement. When my father finally put it together, he told her that it would have to remain under the covered porch so it would not get ruined by the weather. Never mind that it had been stained and sealed with a weatherproof finish. My mother cried and cried. She begged and pleaded. What was the use of buying this beautiful table if she couldn’t actually use it? My father, however, would not be swayed. In short order the table was buried under two kayaks that never touched water and other detritus and was never, ever used. Not even once in the ensuing 25 years.

The other day, my son began wailing in the car on the way to school. “The paint is coming off my Transformer thermos, mommy!!!!!”

“It’s ok, sweetie. It means that it has been loved. Things wear out but it just means you had fun with them!”


Then a smile.

“Mommy, you are right! I love this thermos!!!”

I don’t want my kids to fear living, wearing out, saying goodbye. I want them to play their hearts out and experience joy even if it means a mess of glitter everywhere.

So go ahead, honey-bunny…. play as hard as you like in that mermaid costume. Mommy doesn’t mind after all…


42 thoughts on “Wearing Out

  1. It’s like having “good” china and crystal and not ever using it. I know when I have a treasured possession that I am very overprotective of it. No wanting any sign of damage or wear to come to it. And God forbid it should get lost or broken. I do try to be more relaxed about this and not hold so tight to things because it is inevitable that some things do get broken and warn. And what better way for that to happen than by the enjoyment of using them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And 20 years from now (if you’re still in the same house), you’ll move a piece of furniture or take up a carpet and find some of that glitter. And your heart will melt, and you will have a need to call your daughter, wherever she is at that moment. I know.


  3. I’ll take your one never-used picnic table and raise you one never-seen new dining table my parents bought when I was a kid, which was promptly covered with a thick pad and a table cloth over THAT. Always. Never saw the table except when I was assigned cleaning it.

    I do mourn things I break, wear out, and lose – but I get over it. Seems like a better way with kids too (cry first, smile second). Good going!


  4. Love love love love LOVE this piece. Beautiful. And oh so true. I find that having children is making me live much more in the present than I ever have, and I’m so grateful for this life lesson they’re teaching me.


  5. I’m of two minds on this one. Sometimes I want something nice or special to stay special. Kids can be clumsy. Since I know don’t always have the patience to forgive easily if they break something I love I keep some stuff special.

    On the other hand my father sounds like yours. He kept things “perfect” which led to a few tense situations. When my brother spilled soda in my father’s perfect car there was hell to pay πŸ™‚


  6. I love this too. Our youngest son had a Spiderman costume that he wore until he grew out of it. It took a full 2 years. You never knew when Spiderman was going to come around the corner and jump on you. It’s so wonderful to be able to give to our children those little things that end up meaning so much in the end.


  7. I remember my grandmother had a reception room set up for people coming to visit, with all the nicest things, that was hardly ever used. And that’s considering she had 6 kids…We can’t live a life wrapped up in plastic…


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