FTC Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Pentel as part of an Influencer Activation for The Brand Connection. All Opinions are my own.
When she was two years old, my daughter asked me where she came from. I told her I wished her down from a star. She's nine now, and just diagnosed as having high-functioning autistic. So I told her that if I had to wish her from a star again, I'd wish just as hard on the very same star for the very same child, because I wouldn't change a thing.
That's the simple version of that story. The longer version includes me hyperventilating inside of my head because none of the parenting books I had read (and I read a lot) said anything about having to figure out a way to explain the birds and the bees to an extremely precocious toddler. I mean, there was no way I was going to go there, but because my child was probably born smarter than me and has a memory an elephant would envy, I also knew I could not lie.
Not even a little bit. Eliana Mercedes Kateri (first name, given middle name, and confirmation name, thankyouverymuch), will make a brilliant defense lawyer one day. Or a book Writer/Musician/Violinst/Dancer/Singer/Whatever Else She Might Think Of, like she just told me when I asked what she wants to be when she grows up. She remembers everything.
If you told Toddler Eliana in May that Santa Claus was going to bring whatever you hoped she would forget five minutes after leaving the toy section at the store, you'd be searching the stores frantically on Christmas Eve hoping for a miracle because my little girl would maybe-not-so-innocently mention that thing you thought she had forgotten just in time to make sure you were sweating while trying to deliver.
So you see, a lie wouldn't do. If I gave her anything but truth, I knew that the day would come when science would trump fantasy in the realm of such things, and she would remember. I had to make sure the truth I told her was a truth that was both timeless and ambiguous. It had to be age-appropriate for a toddler, but also still ring with truth even when paired with the science she would learn one day. I hugged her and told her I needed a minute to gather my thoughts because IU had never told this this story out loud before, so she waited patiently while I tried to put the words in the right order inside of my head. It's harder to do when writing word stories in my head - I suck at impromptu fairy-tales and my child will vouch for that every day of the week - because I talk with my fingers on a keyboard for a living.
I was nervous, if you can believe it, for my little audience of one, but I took a deep breath, and told Eliana this story for the very first time:
A wish sat upon a star, looking down at the world below.
A woman sat in the cool night air, her head tilted up at just the right angle for the wish to watch as she closed her eyes. She began to move her lips, speaking words the wish could feel but not hear.
The wish smiled in that way that only wishes do. The woman kept her eyes on the star - her star. She smiled into the sky as the star twinkled its light back down to the woman on the porch. It was shining brilliantly now, for it’s a little known fact that a star’s ability to shine is directly related to the happiness the wish sitting upon it is experiencing. The woman stood up and went back inside her home, probably for the rest of the night. It was time for her to find her dreams.
The wish was positively glowing with happiness.
It was finally her turn.
The wish had lost track of how long she had sat upon her star, anxiously watching and waiting as other wishes were called upon each night. Each wish in turn would smile and wave to those still waiting. Then they would step off their respective stars, which, for a solitary moment, shone brighter than any other in the sky. And then the wish would simply fall, leaving a trail of light in its wake, as it made its way down to the earth, ready to become something special to one lucky someone.
Maybe the wish was going to become a playful little puppy for a sweet little boy or girl. Or maybe the wish was meant to be a rain storm for a thirsty flower. Maybe the wish trailed off into a beautiful nothingness, affording its dreamer the precious opportunity simply to see a falling star.
And while all these callings were noble and true, this little wish knew she'd been chose for an extra special journey. Her journey.
“What kind of journey was it, Mama?” a little girl asked into the darkness, interrupting the story of her beginning The little girl already knew the answer and pressed a sleepy smile into her mother’s chest.
“That wish on that star became you, my love.” Mama said. “Thank you for being my wish.”
The little girl snuggled even closer, falling into a beautiful dream. “Thank you for wishing me come true."
I drew Eliana a picture of the star I wished her down from, along with an autism puzzle heart and the words "Wished You True" to go along with this new bit to her story and added a few digital touches, as I tend to do with my art. Thank you to Pentel for an incredibly generous package of art supplies, which made it possible to create it. Doing so helped to reinforce her pride and acceptance of and embrace the very label so many told us not to burden her with. She is perfect and fabulous just the way she is. She will grow and learn and accomplish goals on her own terms and her own time; not anyone else's. And that's okay.
And she will always be my baby.
Now it's time for the best part!
Pentel is offering one of my readers a backpack filled with art supplies valued up to $250! Sorry, but this one is only open to US residents 18 and older. To enter, simply visit Pentel's website and comment here to share a bit of your own story and which Pentel art products you'd love to use in your own artwork. No, you don't have to write a blog post, but your comment must contain a statement about what inspires you; the point of why you driven to create, and at least one Pentel product mentioned by name, to be considered. You get one bonus entry for tweeting Pentel with my giveaway link, tagging me (@Pauline_Campos). Entries will be accepted until midnight, EST, on Sunday, January 29, 2017. If you have any problems posting a comment on this post, please tweet me with your entry and you are good to go! A winner will be randomly selected and announced on the blog on Sunday, January 30, 2017.