♪♫ Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky… ♪♫
Annie’s pony tail bobbed up and down as she sang. Face lifted to the heavens, she twirled with her arms outstretched, as if all the stars were falling down and she meant to catch every single one of them. Her voice sounded polished and mature, the melody and cadences much different than the way I remembered the nursery rhyme song when I was her age.
“Did you make that up?” I asked her.
She stopped twirling abruptly and turned to face me, blinking at me with the aggressive incredulity only a five-year-old can offer. “It’s Jewel,” she scowled, shaking her head in disbelief that I didn’t know.
For a moment, I wondered what she thought I meant. Diamonds were jewels, of course, but I was talking about the melody and how she’d changed it… “I meant the way you’re singing it, not the words… you… you’re really quite gifted!” I stammered.
Annie frowned. “It’s Jewel,” she said again. “It’s Jewel who sings it that way.”
“Jewel, the singer Jewel?”
She nodded, momentarily relieved that I’d been cured of my adult ignorance.
I pulled my head back in surprise. “Jewel sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?”
She nodded again, her expression shifting to one of exasperation.
“Huh!” I exclaimed. “I love Jewel! I had no idea! Can you sing it for me again?”
She made a face to show how annoyed she was that I had interrupted her in the first place, and tilted her head back to look up again at the night sky. Reaching her arms out once more, she began to twirl and sing as she had been…
♪♫ When the blazing sun is gone, when he nothing shines upon, then you show your little light, twinkle, twinkle, all the night… ♪♫
I sat in my lawn chair watching and listening in amazement. How incredibly priceless she was… like a diamond in my life… all the clarity and vocal strength of Jewel herself, bundled up in that little kindergarten body, spinning around as if dizziness was just an inconvenience other people suffered…
I hope I never lose that, I thought.
How perfect life would be if I could watch my own daughter grow up. All her dreams and fancies could be mine all over again. I stared down at the empty tan line on my finger. The echo of my ring bouncing across Stephen’s kitchen threatened to steal away my moment.
No! I promise I’ll never lose that!
I jumped up from the lawn chair and turned my face to the night. I stretched out my hands and I twirled with her, around, and around, and around, listening to her innocent voice pierce the darkness in delightful nocturnal lullaby. As I spun, the stars mingled and I could only wonder which one she was singing to. They blurred, and… one by one… they began to fall from the sky.
♪♫ And as your bright and tiny spark lights the traveler in the dark… ♪♫
I opened my outstretched hands to catch them, little diamonds raining from the sky. This one here! That one there! I caught them all as they fell, until giddy and out of my mind, I fell back into my lawn chair.
I was alone. My outstretched hands were empty. The stars had not fallen and they swirled in a grand spiral now above my head. Certainly none of them had landed on my finger. Annie was gone.
Not completely gone.
I promised I would never lose her!
twinkle, twinkle, little star
only I know who you are
child naive and adult smart
like a diamond in my heart
dreams shine in your twinkling light
twinkle, twinkle all my life.
© 2012 Anne Schilde