Before The World Gets You

I really want to catch a starfish. I wouldn’t even have to pay for it. We could go on walks, play hide-and- seek, read books together. They are cute, I love them and I want to have my own friend with me all the time.

My starfish would be called Starry. We would hug, don’t need a tank because I’ll take it to the beach every day. I’ll just go to the ocean every day.

I will visit the leaning tower of pizza, the tallest building in Dubai and the Eiffel tower.

My youngest declares he wants to stay five forever so he can always go piggy back and fit in small spaces. He also thinks there is a building in Italy made of pizza and his starfish could read.

I never correct because for as much as we can and for as long as we can–believe your starfish can go on walks and that somewhere out there a giant building leans, slightly oozing with mozzarella. Soon enough the world is going to tell him–show him otherwise.

We got a puppy named Hazel before Christmas, our beloved Labrador (Bella) passed almost three years ago. It was time. Puppy is a delight, fluffy fun and endless joy to watch. But I never imagined she would also bring sadness and longing. She makes us miss our Bella. The boys keep saying what good friends the two would be, if they had one wish it would be for dogs to live forever. We look back at puppy pictures of Bella and puddle. No one can say who wore it best or who is cuter under any circumstance. They are both simply irresistible.  

Parenting is a privilege but so hard. I want to tell them your puppy could live forever, that I surely will see a woman U.S. President in my lifetime, cancer cured even before our little is off to college. Believing in miracles and magic, keeping wonder alive in your heart—that’s what holds us up to the light and keeps us going. Yet I have to tell the tough news too, demonstrate responsible storytelling not the fairytale I dream to be true.

It won’t be long and my five-year-old will turn ten and not make the team with his best buddies. It won’t be long and my middle guy will be a tween and realize what it means to fall short, to hold brilliant thoughts without the same ability to put pen to paper like his peers. It won’t be long and my eleven-year-old will be in high school and someone will break his heart, crush his dreams with one unkind line or deep cut. And those will be moments and disappointments cemented into their cerebral memory bank—the pivotal hurts that never leave, not even hiatus to the margins of your story.

But god willing I’ll be here. Waiting for someone to say mom…leave the light on, can we talk, stay awhile longer just until I fall asleep, can I call dad at the hospital, I know it’s late but I need to tell you something. And may my heart remember what it was like and have the courage and memory to say…it feels like the world is closing in but the good friends will stay, your heart will mend, this just isn’t your person yet, losing is tough and can even be unforgettable, I have felt it too.

The world will try to crush you. Be stronger than me, don’t apologize for apologizing and be better than anyone who tries to bring you down. In fact, be especially kind to those who are hurtful to you. The world crushed them a long time ago, when no one was watching.