Recently, I read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. It’s a compelling book about a girl so special she is both adored and shunned by her peers. A high school student, she sings Happy Birthday with an ukele to every student. She cheers for both teams and carries a mouse with her everywhere. She is unique in every sense and her beauty shines in her singularity. The story is both enlivening and heartbreaking.
As I hope that you may feel inspired to read the book, I wish to say no more other than I was moved to tears. Spinelli led me to love this girl as my own. Mostly, because she is my own. I have a Stargirl and as I read the book, I realized that I have been putting out her light. As Ebenezer Scrooge tried to put a cap over Christmas Past’s glow, I fear I have unintentionally dimmed my daughter’s light.
Little Diva is special — very special. Now, I am her mom and of course, I think that she is special. But she is more than that, Her teachers come out of the woodwork to tell me how much they love her. They love her enthusiasm for everything, her creativity, and the fact that she is entirely herself at all times. One teacher said to me, “She lives in (Little Diva) world but the funny thing is… she thinks everyone else does, too”.
My girl lives life in the full and at times in the extreme. She feels everything so sharply and truly and never hides it. And most of the time, I love it. But sometimes, I fear that she doesn’t fit. And rather than letting her live in her world, I try to make her fit. I create excuses for behavior that does not require excuse. I coach her from the sideline when she is already a winner.
In other words, I am placing my insecurities on her. Insecurities that she does not have. And why? Why would I do that? Because once I was a Stargirl; a Stargirl that got burned. And rather than continuing to shine, I allowed my light to be put out. And in fear of future pain for her, I have become what I feared. I have been the one questioning the value of her uniqueness.
And I must stop. Now.
There will be pain for her. This world doesn’t like square pegs. It wants conformity. But my job is not to make her fit. My job is to protect the person she is and allow her to shine; brightly and often oddly, but shine nonetheless. And it’s about time I start.
I will have to sit in my discomfort. I will have to watch her hurt and wipe her tears. I will have to let go of my issues and support her in her growth. And that will be hard. It may be one of the hardest things I will ever have to do. But I will. Because she is worth it.
Because she is a Stargirl and she deserves to shine.A special thanks to Jana of Everyday is Your Runway who directed me to this beautiful book and opening my eyes to the light I have in my life. Also, my Sonny-Bunny is very special, too. Just for the record. He is adored and loved in his own special way.