I wasn’t plucked from a cabbage patch, or brought into this world via stork, or even a hospital. I know this because my parents told me they reached into the Milky Way and picked a star.
And that star was me.
On dark winter nights in Edmonton my Mother and I would bundle up and go for walks under the endless prairie skies. She would tell me the story of how she told her little girl that she was chosen from the stars. Even as an adult that story filled me with comfort. As the years passed and I moved into big cities the stars were no longer as easy to see, and neither were my parents. I missed them, the stars and my Mom and Dad.
Not long after that my Mom became one of those stars.
Around 1997 I went on a road trip with my Father, to the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic towards the tip of the palm forested Samana Peninsula, where the sandy road ends and the tiny village of Las Galeras begins. On arrival, it felt and looked like the end of the earth. A few little stores, a few tiny earthy restaurants and most remarkably, a small peach-colored adobe hotel planted on the most exquisite beach. We discovered a part of the world that seemed to be all our own.
It was like we had stepped into an alternate reality of idyllic beauty where time stood still.
As soon as we drove up we were spotted by some local village women. They ran to us waving strings of fresh fish and very large Lagostina, (one of my favorite delicacies, very similar to lobster but softer and sweeter). Speaking a blend of Spanish, French and Haitian Creole they tried to communicate while taking our hands and leading us to a ramshackle mess of tin and wood hammered together to resemble a roof and walls. There was an old BBQ of sorts, a light bulb hanging from a single wire, a couple of pots and some old dilapidated picnic benches embedded deep in the sand with the ocean lapping the shore only a few feet from them. We finally managed to interpret what they were trying to say.
They wanted to cook a meal for us.
We found some wine at a little Italian store a short walk back, and while we walked they prepared food. Fried plantains and moro de habichuelas (rice and beans). She split the Lagostinas open and BBQ’d with mantequilla de ajo (garlic butter) in their shells while the sun dipped into the ocean and revealed the sky it was hiding.
My Dad and I sat on the beach and the sky was beginning to unfold into a spectacle of light, a light that covered us and surrounded us with a presence that warmed us from the inside and overwhelmed and touched us. Tears filled my eyes as I watched the moon nestle into this luminous peace.
“We are all so small,” I said to my Dad. “Did I come from there?” My Dad answered softly, “Yes, Lainey, you did!”
We stopped talking and listened to the waves whisper to the sky and watched the moon, whose light kissed the ocean and we shared it all with Mom. Shared a moment in which time did not exist. I thought to myself that this must be a place that God lives. I felt at home, back at home with the stars.
Back at home with Mom and Dad.