Words by Kathryn Monsewicz
When I was a little girl, I thought every Sunday was made of sunshine. I thought every Monday was made for my mother’s special chocolate-and-butterscotch-chip cookies because she didn’t have to go to the office that day. I thought Fridays were meant for staying up as late as possible to catch some forbidden television show on Adult Swim. I thought Saturdays were made of 10 a.m. youth football games where I was a cheerleader and where I ate warm, soft pretzels and drank the best Swiss Miss on this side of town. Every day had a purpose. Every day had a story, even if it was the exact same story as last week.
On one of these days, in the summer, my best friend from elementary school came to my house and brought this funny kind of paper. How she got this magical paper, I have no clue, but wow was it magical. It could be drawn on with markers, crayons and colored pencils. After being cut out from the page, the glossy paper peeled in two, one side a sticker, the other it’s flimsy, past skin.
What does one do when she discovers magic like this? She sells it, of course. Real entrepreneurs my friend and I were. We decorated the sticker paper with bell-shaped purple tulips, butterflies with fluffy, cloud-like wings, uneven red hearts, blue stars and of course something a little less girly: a turtle. My dad always liked turtles, so it had to be a guy thing.
My friend and I would sell these stickers on the sidewalk for a quarter a piece. Our most loyal customers were the old man who lived behind the fence and always went on evening walks and the teenage babysitter who worked at the house up the hill.
We would doodle all day long, loving our creations and valuing them as though they were monetary. Stickers for a child are not hard to come by. You walk into Wal-Mart, you get a sticker. You go to the dentist’s, you get a sticker. It’s Friday in homeroom class and guess what? A sticker for you! And you! And you! You all get stickers! The Oprah of stickers! As easy as it is to get a gold star, that sticky piece of paper is a treasure, a true gem.
Stickers to little kids are like days of the week to anyone else. There they always are, always coming, always stuck on you. But stickers are the good days. We treasure good days.
Not long ago, I started my business of sticker collecting again. At age 20, I won’t be selling them for a quarter a piece on the sidewalk anymore (because we all know they are worth 50 cents after inflation). These are stickers I keep for myself, just like I keep days on a calendar. I take a sticker, something flashy like a sparkling rainbow, a pony with pink hair or a bright blue snowflake for the winter months, and I place it on that calendar at the end of each good day.
I reward myself something small for something big. I get a sticker for having a good day, for being happy, for putting my mental and physical health first and for helping others when they need me.
As I pressed the lime green butterfly onto Tuesday, March 7, I thought of what that meant to me. What does a lime green butterfly have to do with today? Do I really deserve to say I’ve had a good day when maybe I slipped up somewhere; I didn’t eat enough vegetables or I didn’t help that girl pick up her dropped books?
A lime green butterfly adds to the collection of rainbows, ponies or snowflakes, so I can be proud of how hard I have worked, how much I have worked, to have that good day. That good week. That good month.
Give yourself today, give yourself tomorrow, give yourself every day to start new — to start fresh — and become better than you were the day before. Remind yourself of that little childhood joy. Reward yourself with acceptance of both the bad and the good. Never let one day of the week, whether it is made of sunshine or gray clouds and endless rain, ruin your chances of getting another sticker — another good day.