Loving My Daughter
I am blessed to have my adult children and their spouses living in my area. When my daughter has a day off from her job, we often meet for lunch or some activity. Today she picked me up, and we ate at a little Mexican restaurant, then headed to her house. I offered to help my daughter organize the rapidly expanding nail polish collection consuming her home surface spaces. Since she already has file drawers for the bottles, it seemed like a fairly simple project. After we decided to sort by company, not colors—we dug in with nearby refreshing drinks and started the chore.
This job brought back memories of helping my daughter during her childhood. Never a self-starter for chores, we often shared twice-yearly dig-outs of her bedroom. During those days, she would start with low energy and gradually become animated with our discoveries. Homework grades, lost clothing, journals, stuffed animals, and art supplies would reappear with our excavations. Getting beyond my aggravation at her cleaning inactivity for most of the year, we found another way to bond.
Thousands of Bottles of Polish
So in the middle of thousands of bottles of nail polish (not kidding), I started to understand my daughter in a new way. She has been collecting bottles for about 15 years. When she used to visit her grandmothers, she would treat them to a manicure. She manages a nail polish blog—something I wouldn’t spend hours working on each week. We love each other but agree that we don’t share similar blog interests. She has a fan base reaching nearly 1,000 people. Her people track colors and companies and offer each other worldwide advice. She notes that an even younger generation who trades online for her earlier purchases is emerging. I learned there is a whole culture around this kind of “art and paint.”
I can easily criticize my daughter’s financial investments in nail polish. Like the polish, layers of meaning are attached to this collection. As we created a system for the bottles and worked together, I started to understand her fascination with enamel better. Many kinds use artistic bottles, lids, labels, and names. The variety of colors, sparkles, and crackles is alluring to the eye. There are delicate and tiny nail stamps, personal mixtures, and magnetic effects. An expression of beauty and femininity, much like tropical bird feathers. I offered to return and help my daughter finish the sorting. She is inspired to make a database and share duplicates with a friend.
I truly believe that my daughter’s beauty is inside and outside. I even admire her fingernails. My chewed-on finger ends will never become a showcase for art. Yet I know a part of me lives on in her appreciation for beauty. And we will both gain some satisfaction when all the bottles are in their drawers.
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
1. Do you have a parent, spouse, or child who spends money on a hobby/sport that you don’t understand? Have you ever offered to get involved or support that interest?
2. How could you invite a family member or friend into your area of passion?
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Karen Spruill writes from Florida.