"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Moon, the Stars, and Fairy Dust

Congratulations to Linda Hofke for winning the "Space Tales" writing contest. A former Pennsylvanian, Linda holds  a B.S. in Elementary Education from Kutztown University. She currently lives in Germany where she teaches English, writes poetry and stories for both adults and children, and enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter. You can visit her newest blog at: http://lind-guistics.blogspot.com/
I chose her submission because it is not a stereotypical science fiction or nonfiction piece. She thought outside of the box and shared a heartwarming memoir about her love for her daughter. I hope you enjoy her tale as much as I did.

The Moon, the Stars, and Fairy Dust
by Linda Hofke

The realms of outer space are so vast we can't be certain what exists beyond earth. Yet, despite the distance we can usually see the sun and the moon, and on many occasions stars dot the sky like a hundred tiny night lights.
When my daughter was still a toddler, she'd often say, "Mama, I wuv you" and I would respond, "I love you, too. Do you know how much? I love you as much as the moon and the stars in the sky, and that's a lot!”
As she got older, I would read her a bedtime story, tuck her in, and simply say “I love you as much as the moon and the stars,” before kissing her good-night and turning off the light.
Sometimes as I walked out of the room I would hear a tiny girl voice whisper, "And that's a lot."
Usually that was sufficient enough to send her off to dreamland, but there came a brief period where she found herself unable to fall asleep or when she did, she'd have bad dreams and wake. Though she fared well during the day, I became zombie-like, with droopy, shadowed eyes and my brain seemed to be lost in space. I needed to find a solution and quickly.
That's when I started using the fairy dust. After telling her how much I loved her I sprinkled a bit of the imaginary powder over her, and it worked like a charm. After a while she started asking questions and I had to conjure up creative answers instantly.
“Where did you get the fairy dust?”
“The fairies collected the dust from their home far, far away on the other side of the moon and gave it to me.”
“What is it made of?”
 “From moonbeams and starlight.”
“Then why can't I see it?”
“Only the person who receives it from the fairies can actually see it. To all others it was invisible.”
“How does it work?”
“Magic--but it can only be used for good purposes, and it is activated by love.”
Other times my responses required less effort to answer. Once, she noticed the night sky devoid of stars and told me I couldn't say the "and that's a lot" at the end. I explained how stars and planets still exist even when our eyes can't see them, just like the sun is still out there, hiding, and that my love for her will always be, even if it is hiding in my heart.
I liked telling these answers better than the fantasy ones, but she accepted anything I told her, so innocent and trusting.
Friends and family had varying opinions on my method ranging from my being a genius to "When she finds out it's all made up, you've got a major problem." Honestly though, I couldn't see any difference between this and Santa Claus or the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy.
Luckily, things worked out well for me. Before she even realized the routine was based upon fantasy, she had learned to deal with her bedtime fears. One night as I prepared to pinch a bit of dust from my cupped hand, she told me she was a big girl now and didn't need help falling asleep anymore. That was that. I told her how proud I was of her, gave her a peck on the cheek, and flipped the light switch.
Eventually she discovered the truth about Santa and the Easter bunny. We never even had to go into the tooth fairy as she never wanted her to come (that's an interesting tale we can save for another time). Along with this knowledge also came the realization that fairy dust did not exist. She told me she felt so foolish for every believing it when it was now so obvious that one could not pick up anything from an empty palm. I just smiled, pointed out the fact that she was just a little kid then, and told her it served its purpose and that's what counts. She agreed.
She's twelve now and experiencing the crazy adventure we call puberty. Her body is changing. Her mood (and friend's moods) can change as quickly as a werewolf during full moon. Yet, she knows she can come to me to talk about whatever is bothering her, like she did last night. The problem was insecurity based, and I told her she has to change her mindset in order to achieve the goal. Things will only work if she believes it can happen.
She said, "Oh, just like the fairy dust worked because I believed it would.” She paused for a moment then asked a bit sheepishly, "Do you think we could do that again tonight for old time's sake? With the moon and stars part, too."
And that's what we did.


Jennifer Hillier said...

Congratulations to Linda! This is a lovely story.

Linda H. said...

Thanks! I intended to write a typical alien-type story but the muse took over. I almost didn't send it because I was afraid it might be too off-the-topic.

I love your blog and am honored you chose me.


Laurie Kolp said...

I love this, too. You are a great mother, Linda... and excellent writer!

Marie Elena said...

Oh, this is heartwarming, well written, adorable work! Congratulations on your publication, Linda. Well deserved!

Tracy said...

Good for you LInda,
What a lovely story and the photo is magnificent; Hurray!

Dr. Pearl Ketover Prilik (PKP) said...

Lovely story Linda, sweet motherly magic activated by love...

Michelle said...

Great story Linda! This piece was just beautiful! Congratulations my friend!

Linda H. said...

Tracy, only the story is mine. Sylvia must have taken and/or posted the beautiful photo.

Unknown said...

Linda, What a wonderful story. You were always so gifted. I hope Grandmom Pickle has a copy of this. Let me know if she doesn't and I'll make sure she gets one!1

Mandy said...

Superb! We too have disposed of the Easter bunny, I retired the tooth fairy when I realiaed they were only using her as a money making scam (and what DO I do with all those teeth) but Santa ia firmly entrenched as they are worried that nof to believe might just jeopardise a preaent or two. But I loved yr magic.

Mandy said...

Superb! We too have disposed of the Easter bunny, I retired the tooth fairy when I realiaed they were only using her as a money making scam (and what DO I do with all those teeth) but Santa ia firmly entrenched as they are worried that nof to believe might just jeopardise a preaent or two. But I loved yr magic.

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