My beautiful feet

29 05 2015

This is what happens when you let a 2-year-old paint your toenails:

The lavish, gorgeous, outside-the-lines colouring of E's first-ever nail painting job.

The lavish, gorgeous, outside-the-lines colouring of E’s first-ever nail painting job.

painted skin, missed spots, a little paint on fingers, napkins, and the deck (plus a dribble you find later on the kitchen floor, which isn’t even where the painting happened. Toddlers have mess-magic!). Also, what happens is her careful crouch, painstaking little fingers dipping the tiny brush into the jar, hair pushed out of her face by the wrist for maybe the first time ever, and o, glory, the look of pride on her face when you tell her they’re beautiful. Especially when you’re not lying: they are beautiful. That 99 cent teal polish from the grocery store has only looked better in one place ever, and that place is her own tiny toes, lovingly decorated by my mother.

Later, she’ll paint her daddy’s feet, and for days he’ll garner praise wherever he goes for letting her; true to his generous spirit, he’ll brush it off every time. “Yes, I have painted toenails,” he’ll agree to the shocked kids at the birthday party he takes the 7-year-old to the next day.  “Why shouldn’t I? Who says boys can’t have painted nails?” The next afternoon, her brother, jealous of the familial coherence of our feet, will ask her to paint his too (and then jealous of the activity too, will take a turn on his own fingernails).
IMG_3282

Beautiful, tiny blue toes, tickled by the current as they balance on slick, cold river stones.

In a few days, the paint will be washed off the skin of my toes from baths and creek-wading, and all that will remain is the nails themselves, a few missed spots and a glaring color but nothing to make them noticeable or remarkable when I wear them out in open toed shoes, and then I’ll miss the messy excess, drawn-attention-to by the laughing “compliment” from my friend, who saw them on day 1: “oh, I… love your pedicure.  Was that Evanny?”  It was, and despite years of summer toes in shiny tones of gunmetal and copper, matching shoe-buckles, painstaking detail, and maybe even believing at some point in time that something about these pale, knobby little feet was cute somehow, this is my absolute favourite nail-paint job EVER.  These feet have been softer, less knobby, more nimble in my lifetime, but they have never been more beautiful than when I took this happy, sloppy picture in our back deck shade on a sunny day when we were three generations of girls playing together (with a toy I don’t even like–I have always been bothered by the heavy, plastic weight of polish on my nails).

Daughters–I suspected this, but now I’m absolutely sure– are magical.

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One response

1 07 2015
viennajames

I love “the mother” that is speaking here! I know her..but under very different circumstances. And I adore the phrase, “toddlers have mess magic” Making memories is easy… realizing that you made one… that’s something else! I love you

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