Count the Stars

Illustration by the illustrious Dorothy Lathrop

I drove home from my parent’s house last night with my little girls in the back of the car. It is an odd thing, being with two miniature people that seem to think I know something about this life we are living together. Viola cooed and whispered, “yeah” over and over again while Zuzu looked out the window. After a few miles my little three year old cleared her throat,

“Oh dear, Mommy. It is so dark. I don’t like the dark.”

“You don’t like the dark?”

“No. It isn’t nice. I can’t see anything! It’s not pretty, so I don’t really like it.”

“Hmmmm. Well, you know I think the dark is just as pretty as the light!”


“Just think! Without the dark we couldn’t see the stars! What would we do without stars? That would be so sad. I love looking at all those stars with you.”

“Mommy! That’s right! The stars don’t twinkle when the sun is out. Well, I don’t like the dark, but I do like the stars. Is that alright?”

My sweet girl.

I wish I could package up the brightest piece of night sky and give it to her tied in velvet and blue ribbons.  It would reflect light a thousand different ways and a million different colors.  But a star, even one wrapped in ribbon, would lose some of its shine once it was taken from its cushion cut setting in the dark. It is a hard concept, that sometimes we need the dark to see the piercing light.

I don’t always understand it myself.

“Oh honey, of course it’s alright. I tell you what…let’s count the stars on our way home. I bet there are so many you forget about the dark. Ready?”

One, two, three, four, five, six….