Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bangle: Mixit, J. C. Penney's
Green bracelet: Amrita Singh, Zulily
Purple bracelet: Etsy
Other bracelets: So, Kohl's
Barrette: The Tote Trove
Skirt: Wild Fable, Target
Shoes: Katy Perry, Zulily
Bag: Circus by Sam Edelman, Kohl's
Belt: Izod, Marshalls
Bracelets: So, Kohl's
Filled with beads!
Sometimes, things don't go according to plan. Like when I photographed this first outfit and found that the lovely-in-my-mind lemon print dress camouflaged my Bird is the Word Bag Necklace into a chaos of color, and not in a good way. But I subbed in a plain black top as the new backdrop. And the necklace popped the way I wanted it to -- even if the sacrifice was the obliteration of the green and black details of my watermelon flip flops.
But that was okay. I learned to love my little ghost watermelons, reminding myself that perfection is boring.
Which is just one of the things that spoke to me in Kelly Corrigan's memoir Glitter and Glue. In it, journalist Corrigan reminisces about when she was twenty-four and quit her desk job to see the world and have great adventures. She never imagined that she'd end up as a nanny for an Australian widow and his two children. Or that the experience would make her see her relationship with her own mother in a new light and give her a glimpse of the mother she herself would become.
I knew I would like this book. How could any crafter not, with a title like Glitter and Glue? But I didn't know that I'd love it, that its bittersweet edges would remind me of life's relentless yet precious surprises. I like memoirs because they get right down to the core of things. They're character-driven as opposed to plot-driven (although I suppose they have to be, what with the characters being real people and all), and their end game is self discovery instead of shocking endings or eleventh-hour rescues. Unlike in a novel, nothing is tidy -- and somehow seems richer for it. And that's the case with Glitter and Glue. Corrigan describes her adopted Australian family in as much detail as her family back in Philadelphia, complete with all the alliances and dynamics that construct the invisible framework of people who sometimes have nothing in common but genes.
Five-year-old Martin is immediately smitten with Kelly (it seems incongruous to refer to her as Corrigan at this point), but seven-year-old Milly remains reserved to the point of rudeness. Both adorably call her "Keely" in Australian accents. Helping out in a motherless household gives Kelly a new perspective on her own childhood. She has always been closer with her father, a light-hearted Irishman nicknamed Greenie, whereas she sees her mother as strict and unsympathetic. Yet when she was a teenager, her mother told her, "Your father's the glitter but I'm the glue." (Better than the old rubber and glue saying, I guess, where glue is the villain.) Now, years later, this makes Kelly wonder, and it makes me wonder, too. Is the no-nonsense parent the one who loves harder? And do men always get to be the fun ones while women do the less glamorous work of holding things together?
On a more superficial note, I could not for the life of me imagine traveling anywhere with only ten pieces of clothing! But that's just what Kelly did. Toward the end of her nanny tenure, she tie dyes a top and a pair of pants purple in an attempt to impress a special someone. (Because yes, there is a touch of romance here. And for me, it -- and its tortured trajectory -- is the book's most poignant part.) I admire Kelly's move in all of its Scarlett-O'Hara-tearing-down-the-curtains ingenuity. But for me, most of the fun of going anywhere is getting to trot out new looks. Still, this personality impasse makes Glitter and Glue's message even more powerful. As in, we may not all be the same or even like the same things, but at heart, human beings need the same things: to understand the world around them and to be appreciated and loved.
I think that's what Corrigan (because yes, at this dramatic juncture we're back to using her last name) is saying. That, and appreciate your mom no matter how much she annoys you, because she's amazing.
They say that healthy birds leave the nest. And I agree. But the healthiest birds always come home. Even if only to unpack an overnight bag -- be it a designer tote or old, beat-up backpack -- and say thank you.