a story about singing to the stars.

When I was a little girl, I sang to the stars.

I don’t remember the words or any particular tune, but I remember those cold night-time car rides when I tucked myself against the window so I could see the sky. I sang under my breath so that only the stars could hear me.

One night, riding in my grandmother’s car, she asked me to sing louder. I remember the smile on her face, open and welcoming. There was nothing in her request except kindness, but I felt exposed and ashamed. My back seat bubble had suddenly popped, and all I could do was turn my head away from the window and close my eyes.

I never sang to the stars again, and now I don’t remember what I used to say to them.


I take delight in so many things that Atticus does. His stories and movements and play all make me laugh. Even the bathtub hand-waving lectures about how he doesn’t really need his hair washed, okay are hilarious to me because I see how he is trying so hard to tell us about his independence. I laugh sometimes at his fits because it’s just ridiculous how stubborn he is and how helpless I am to control another human being. I laugh because he is delightful, even when he is telling me That’s not very nice when I have denied him something he thinks he should be entitled to have.

I get scared that I am laughing too much. Oh, I want him to grow up in a house where the walls ring with laughter, but at the same time I am afraid that I will inadvertently teach him to be ashamed of his feelings and his personality. I don’t want him to think that I am laughing at him. I want him to know that I am laughing with him because it is such a joy to see him grow. As his sense of self grows stronger, I know he will need more privacy and autonomy. I pray that I will find ways to express my delight that don’t cause him to shy away.

This winter I have thought a lot about that little girl I used to be, the one who sang to the stars with such abandon. I hear Atticus sing to himself sometimes, and I am careful not to ask too many questions.

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One Comment

  1. Oh, Kari. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s true: Sometimes, the things on your heart are EXACTLY the same things I’ve mulled over. I am a frequent laugh-er … I remember a few years back, when I was 7 months pregnant with our son, we were on a trolley ride to the annual Victorian Streetwalk downtown. It was Christmastime, and my husband and I were just delighted to be out for a magical evening together. There was a sweet little boy sitting near us, chattering away. We both smiled at him … and his face just crumpled. Surprised, we looked at his parents, and they assured us that we hadn’t done anything wrong. Apparently, whenever people smiled at him, he would interpret it as them making fun of him.

    I remember that moment, and although our little guy isn’t nearly that sensitive, I have tried to be aware of how I express my delight over him. Because, as you said, I would never want to squelch his creative spirit…

    Posted 1/15/2014 at | Permalink

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