816 North Opinion

How to focus on the task at hand: It’s all on your head

It's not the tiara that will help our daughters succeed in life.
It's not the tiara that will help our daughters succeed in life. AP

“What is that thing on your head?” my husband asked as he made a face. That face.

The one that the kids make when I tell them it’s broccoli-and-lentil casserole night or when a bug flies into my mouth.

That face.

I really didn’t know what he was talking about and put my hand up to investigate. Was it leftovers from lunch? Dust from well, not dusting, but something? Ah, that. I smiled the You Are About to Understand and Be Dazzled by My Brilliance smile.

“It’s my writing tiara.”

“Your what? It’s goofy.”

“It’s like a thinking cap, only pink and cute.”

Brian shook his head and walked away. I was stunned that he didn’t get it. This wasn’t just a leftover, plastic headpiece from a long-emptied Halloween bucket.

No, it was a powerful talisman.

I yelled down the hall at him, “Accessories help!”

It’s true. When my oldest kids where not so old, we had rotavirus slam through our house. I was home with two kids under 5 who were … well, sick in the nastiest manner imaginable. Between keeping them hydrated and cleaning up the “oops, I missed” messes, I developed an ailment of my own: a case of Scullery Maid.

Dashing through my bedroom to a call of, “Mo-o-om?” I spotted my wedding veil hanging on the wall alongside a framed invitation. I had displayed it to remind me how I felt when it was bobby-pinned to my head on my wedding day: like a princess.

“A princess is really far up the kingdom social ladder from a scullery maid,” I thought.

I plunked the veil on my unwashed, unbrushed hair and suddenly I felt special. A delightful, happy glow bubbled from within and Wedding Veil Therapy was born.

Since then I have donned my veil many times when I was in need of a boost. By happy accident, I also discovered that the leftover, pink Halloween treat tiara gave me a productive, whimsical boost when I needed to concentrate. This earned it a place in my office alongside a red feather boa, a gold sequin beret, a construction hat, and fingertip lights — items that I ironically doff to tell myself it’s work, not mess-around-on-the-Internet time.

(No, not all at the same time. That would be tacky.)

On a day when I was juggling chores, the pink tiara proved its motivational powers outside the office and soon that tiara was part of my at-home uniform: jeans, sneakers, cardigan, tiara. But Brian’s reaction made me wonder if I should grow up and end my days of playing Princess. Was it just a goofy plastic crown?

Shortly afterward, a friend posted a Facebook picture of her wearing her own shiny tiara and a big smile. When I saw it, a mission dinged in my head.

Like a fairy tale adventurer in search of the golden goblet, I set off on a journey with purpose. I bravely ventured into the big accessory store that is organized by color. Despite being simultaneously overstimulated and energy drained, I searched until — bright twinkly light — they appeared before me.

With a deep breath I reached into the basket and let my new, metal and rhinestone tiara choose me. I placed it on my head. I was grown up. A Princess grown up into a Queen.

Then I picked up a couple more for friends who I knew would make a face. The one you make when you open a box and it contains something you wouldn’t ever think you wanted until you held it and understood the power in your hand.

That face.

Susan Volleweider lives in Smithville. For more of her writing, go to thehistorychicks.com.