star chart

when i was a little girl, i went through a phase where i cried every day when i went to school, and pretended illnesses so i could go back home to my mom where i felt safe. i don’t remember what felt so sad and scary, other than just being out in the world alone, i suppose. every day when i went out the door, i felt that something terrible could happen and i may never come back, i could be lost out there with no way to get home, spinning alone in a dark universe with nothing to hold me safe.

so my mom made me a star chart, and every day i went to school without crying, every day where i managed my fears, i got a little foil star to lick and stick on my chart, and at the end of the week, if there was a nice row of shiny stars, we would walk downtown in a blue friday night dusk and i could pick something out at the dime store, or there would be a special treat for me and my brother. it was never about the plastic baby doll, or the little golden book, or the actual thing that i picked. it was the promise that at the end of that row of stars, i knew i would be home, and i would be with people who would always love me, and i would be safe, and i would have made it through another week of growing up.

it seems funny and unfair that at almost forty years old, i remember that star chart, and think only half-joking that i could still really use one.

maybe everyone feels like this sometimes.

all week, i thought about stars, and when i was pretty sure that i had earned it, i took myself to teavana and treated myself to some tea. i think sometimes it is just your own self who has to keep those little lights shining in the big dark universe, and most of the time, even when i think i can’t, i can close my eyes and see them and feel them. i just have to try.


and a lovely hot drink and a pretty tea tin certainly help.