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  • Jeffrey Bates

A Dream...

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Jeff and Bayleigh

“Daddy, the moon is singing a lullaby to the stars…”

I was just walking into her room when she was waking up. She was kneeling up in her bed, hands on the window sill, looking out the window toward the ocean where the horizon was beginning to brighten. “What?” I asked. She repeated herself as clearly as day. I paused and had the thought to ask her, “Are you having a dream?”

“Yesssss...” she giggled. “Wow, Bayleigh, that’s really awesome.” I was imagining. And after a pause I asked her, “Can you tell me more, or can you draw me a picture?”

“Sure,” she replied giggly. I got out my sketchbook and opened it to a clean page. I gave her a pencil and slowly she drew the moon, put stars in her eyes, and gave her a big smile. I watched her as she added another little star just above to the left of the moon. My heart was full. She was expressing her art in no uncertain terms. She had been dreaming of the moon singing a lullaby to the stars. This is what she saw. “Bayleigh, that is really beautiful. And she really looks happy.” “Yessss…” she giggled.

Those happenings occurred in June of 2021. Over the next two months she and I created Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Moon - a story for all of those who think they’re not bright enough. Since I’m a “poetically inclined” writer and have five previous children’s books, I felt deep down that this was an amazing dream - and it could be a book! Soon after she told me about her dream, I began hearing the beginnings of the poem. I started meditating on the moon and what it must “feel” like to be her. My daughter’s sentiment was that the moon was singing a lullaby to the stars. A lullaby is what a caregiver might sing to a child to help them go to sleep. But what I realized was that the moon’s lullaby also had longing in it. The moon wanted to be a star! She was singing, “Oh, what would it be like to be a star!”

My daughter is the brightest star in my life and she happens to have Down Syndrome. My meditations began to be focused on her and what her experience of life was like - and had been like up to that point. How had she experienced not being bright enough? Had she? I couldn't stand the thought. She was staying with me for the summer because she doesn’t live with me. So when she woke up seeing the moon singing to the stars I knew this was a special moment. I remember the first time I showed her the book cover after I had designed it and she giggled, “Hey, that’s my moon!” On some deep level that dream comforted me for her. Though the moon couldn’t be a star, because she was stuck, she did have her own light that was reflected from her “own star way over there.” Bayleigh drew that star. My sense, and I’m no psychologist, is that it is important for everyone, and every child to have a distant star, a radiant source of light, that they can reflect out into the world. She reflected that to me. Her light has always been amazing. All children have this light, but somewhere along the way it can be lost. Bayleigh reflected that star power to me in her expression and in her art work that morning. I was astounded. I still am. My heart is comforted by this story - not just for myself, but for her. She has a star.

This book is a radiant source of light and inspiration for everyone who may not feel bright enough. Being constantly evaluated. Tested. Scrutinized. Our children may get the feeling of not being enough, or good enough, or bright enough. The technological system which we now have in place acts to extract light by testing our children for everything. It wants their light, but rarely, in my experience as a parent of two, have I ever witnessed it giving something back to them to affirm that they do shine, uniquely, on this very basic level. In many districts the arts, the value of individual expression, have been expelled. There seems to be no time for the "unmeasurable." Literature like Twinkle doesn’t give data and facts, but instead provides a channel to lead, suggest and contacts something deep inside. It points to something internal, not external. The experience is felt to be like a discovery. Helping our children discover their own “lunar light” in a world that tells them to get likes and subscribers - and teaches them that they aren’t enough - is what Twinkle Twinkle Little Moon addresses. The Moon and Bayleigh realize they are enough. “Hey!” she said “that’s my moon!” I hope we can help our children recognize themselves mirrored in her book and dream. They are enough. They are bright enough. Bayleigh’s dream let me know that she feels bright enough - loved enough - and has a self-confidence which is now radiating artistically in this book, around the world and throughout distant space. May it be reflected in all of our children and in all of us. You are bright enough. As you can imagine, I am so proud of her.

"You don't have to be a star, to be bright."

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