Pocketful of Stars

 

 “Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket. Save it for a rainy day. 

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away…”


My grandmother sang me this song when I was little, and I would sing along replacing “pocket” with “diaper”- a chunky two year tumbling around with a diaperful of stars. Back then, my only idea of heartache was watching my dad leave for work or dropping my graham cracker from the high chair to the floor, just out of reach.

I’ve found people can be that way- close and untouchable. Over the years I’ve used my pocketful of stars to wish these people back to me. Hopeful with a hint of heartbreak, I spent my wishes on the wrong thing. I believed there was only one kind of falling in love, and I believed it was the only kind of dream.

Don’t you dare do what I did.

22 and swallowed up in a ring of Auburn moonlight, I fell. I fell through the grass and my dew-soaked jacket into something like love and the star-splattered sky. “This is it,” I thought. “This is how to fix what’s broken inside me. This is falling in love.”

Maybe it was, and maybe it wasn’t. I don’t know for sure anymore, but I know now it wasn’t the only way.

16 and eating Easy Mac on my best friend’s parents’ floor, we scrolled through Facebook and forced our hearts to flutter each time we glimpsed that one boy’s name. Our nights were like this. Frantically, desperately, we searched for something we couldn’t define. So we called that desire fate and that longing love. “When I find it,” I thought, “then I’ll be alive.” We watched The Office and Gilmore Girls to pass the time.

I don’t know who or what is to blame for this idea of mine that romantic love is the only kind to fall into. I’m not sure when I translated “dream big” to “dream guy” and didn’t think to look any further. It wasn’t until I stopped looking that I started to live.

That’s when I fell in love.

I fell in love with summer air at home, and the way the breeze grazed my fingertips.

I fell in love with my grandmother’s backyard and how year after year I grew older but it waited for me, unchanged.

I fell in love with my friends and writing and the drive from Auburn to Nashville and the places I’ve called home.

I moved to Tennessee and fell in love there too. I found my person and thanked  God for the dreams he weaves into our intersecting lives.

I’ve learned you can love forever or a moment, but the most important thing is that you do.

Suddenly someday, it’s

12AM your soul is full, beautiful and rich and your heart beats butterflies kissing him goodnight. Maybe you’ll love him, but you don’t wish for it yet. Falling for the moment, you reach for your keys and brush past your pocketful of unspent stars.

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