Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Writing Tim's Name in the Stars


Just before Tim’s sixth birthday, it was decided to repaint his room.  Gi had seen ideas on shows such as This Old House and the like and thought of doing an outer space theme.  She searched out swatches of paint to find the perfect night sky shade of blue and with a new sewing machine she made curtains with a planet theme.  For days she scraped, spackled holes, and sanded the wall smooth.  Then came the painting of two or three coats; the whole time of the project was a few days to allow the paint to dry and repaint – not mentioning Tim wanting to come in and play with his toys or watch his television.

I found glow-in-dark stars with adhesive backs.  Some of the packages came with planets, comets, and galaxies.  So for a few days, I printed out the maps of the night sky and planned how to arrange the star stickers in positions of the constellations.  I had to decide on the time so that it was somewhat accurate.  I was anal about it.  I didn’t just want random stars thrown on the wall, I wanted something so Tim could look and become familiar and learn.

When the paint was dry and the curtains hung, I set about sticking the stars to the walls.  I decided on midnight Greenwich Mean-time.  I figured it was zero hour for the world on so many different clocks.  It took two days to painstakingly arrange them, from the major constellations that can be recognized with a glance to the ones that needed a squinting of the eyes and discerning the celestial horizon – Orion, Cygnus, Draconis, and so on.
As I finished I noticed I had extra stars and a few extra comets.  Above Tim’s bedroom closet I had a small void where I had planned to place the moon; instead I spelled out Tim’s name.  “Timmy” was formed of the final stars.  I wondered if God took such pleasure when the Universe was formed.

“How do you like that Monk?”

“Why did you do that Daddy?” Tim asked looking at his name.

“So your name is written in the stars.”

“Why?”

“Because I love you and you mean that much to me.  If I could move the real stars, I would write your name so everyone could see.”

We let the lights stay on a bit longer that night, and when we turned them off the room gave the feeling that you were floating above the earth and looking out into space.  Tim loved it.  I felt dizzy and would feel dizzy each time I went into his room when the lights were out or poked my head in when I came home and checked on his slumber.