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The amount of time we've spent coaxing our girls to eat is uncanny. If you've ever had a toddler, you know that nourishment isn't always top on their priority list. Clearly, neither of my girls are starving so we should just cool our heels. But there was that season when I can recall pulling out all the stops just to get a couple of bites into their bellies. We hit an all-time low, more like a sugar-high, when we last-resorted to sprinkling anything and everything with nonpareils. Not just any sprinkle would do, you see. Our girls preferred the tiny spheres of sugar and starch to help jazz up common foods like toast, oatmeal and obviously ice-cream.

Looking back, so much was wrong with that scenario. Added sugar. Artificial coloring. Caving into our toddlers' whims. Often the tiny jar of confection would land haphazardly in a bowl of grits, or end up being shaken directly into my daughter's mouth (by her own sticky hand, not mine.) But what really killed the deal was the aftermath of clean up. Those dazzling, sweet spheres would end up everywhere. They would fly from the shaker and go whirling and spinning off the dining table, finally docking into the deepest nooks and crannies of our small kitchen. I finally put an end to the madness and stopped buying sprinkles. And guess what, my kids didn't starve.

Lately, it seems like I'm trying to end my own kind of madness. At night, I'll swiftly be broken from rest as if someone has shaken nonpareils right over my heart. Each revolving ball a tiny bomb of worry, anxiety and dread. The colorful, angry beads bounce around inside of me like confetti landing in dark crevices, hiding in plain sight just waiting to be swept up with a broom. All at once I can be filled with hope and gratitude and joy and dread and angst and deep uncertainty. A rainbow of emotions as colorful as that jar of sprinkles. But unlike the artificially colored and flavored candies this is authentic, organic and natural. These nonpareils aren't sweet...they're sour, sometimes bitter. They scatter and roll and twist and eventually fall away.


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