“A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?” Pointless, really… “Do the stars gaze back?” Now *that’s* a question.”-Neil Gaiman, Stardust.
Just over a week ago I found myself sitting on the Golden Gate Transit bus line, traveling from San Francisco over the Golden Gate bridge into Mill Valley, the place I once called my home. As I looked out the bus window at the exquisite view of the city from the bridge I found myself feeling such nostalgia and even a little confusion towards my emotions.
In my half daze of jet lag and sleep fatigue that followed that, I hadn’t had the chance to really recognize that I was in fact back in the city I loved so much, being surrounded by the people that contributed greatly to the person I had now become.
It was only now hitting me that all of this was in fact true. I felt compelled to cry, out of complete happiness of course, but overwhelming happiness.
As I got off that old familiar bus stop and walked the fairytale street to my old house in Mill Valley, I took a moment outside to breath and recognize that returning here today, would be different to what I was once use too.
I knocked on the door, but I could see there was no cars in the drive way. I let myself in and put my bags down. I walked around the house, oddly my heart was beating rapidly, I had one thing on my mind.
I wanted to see Tess’s room, to feel her presence. And sure enough there it was, just like she had left it. Bed made with more stuffed animals then any kid could dream off on top of the floral bedspread. Photos of beautiful Tess with her siblings tacked on the walls, and of course, all her favorite fairytale books piled on her shelf.
I can still feel her, even now as I write this in the living room. I can hear her cheeky giggle as she runs around the kitchen table making you chase her, I can see her eyes light up when you tell her about the fairies in the back yard that are their to protect her, I can even feel her by my side tugging on my skirt pronouncing my name the way only Tessi pronounces it, waiting for me to give in to her begging to make chocolate brownies.
Our darling Tess, I cannot even fathom how this happened to such an angel, but I guess thats just it. She is an angel, and we were lucky to have the time we had with her, though the whole time in the world would never seem enough.
I was Tess’s Au Pair for 7 months. I cared for her and her siblings, Kara who is now 12, Emmett who is 9, and James who is shockingly now 5 years old (he reminded me of this the first 3 minutes I saw him when I surprised him at the house).
To me, working with this family has been a blessing. I have never met such calming, considerate and genuine people, who honestly deserve nothing but the absolute best. I knew them a whole year before I started working for them, and from the moment I met them all they welcomed me into their home, arms open, and that is something I will be eternally grateful for.
Three days into me becoming this wonderful families Au Pair, Tess become sick, a trip to the doctors turned into a trip to the hospital, and from there we discovered Tess’s brain tumor.
It’s a strange thing, hearing that someone you care about has cancer. For a parent, I imagine your whole world stops. For Tess’s parents, I’m sure for a minute it did. Through out this whole ordeal, I have never seen such courage and bravery, from Tess’s family and friends, but above all, from her incredible parents. They never once strayed from positivity and making Tess’s world as wonderful as they could. For that I am sure Tess is forever grateful for.
The next 7 months I spent with the family where some of the best of my life. Regardless of Tess’s treatments and daily visits to the hospital, I imagine it was also the best of hers. Surrounded by people loving and willing, our little Tess went on many adventures during her final months on this earth. Every minute I spent with Tess was magical, she had this way of making you feel anything was possible, and that magic truly did exist. I thank her for this, because since Tess taught me these things, magic has come into my life, and I have become no longer fearful of obstacles that may come in my way.
Some of my favorite moments with Tess are the continuous times she would boss me around, telling me how things worked in the house, and filling me in on the secrets to perfecting the peanut butter to jelly ratio, and how to grill a grilled cheese sandwich to perfection. Half the time I was working as Tess’s Au Pair she was schooling me! She knew how things worked and she knew the way she liked things to go and that was that! She was a strong minded, inspired girl, she still is.
Returning to this home I feel so much warmth and so much love vibrating from all angles. Tess is still very much with us, I think, watching over her family and causing a ruckus up in the sky with all the other fairies, angels and stars.
According to the website http://www.amagicalworld.com an Indigo Child can be defined as; “highly sensitive beings with a clear sense of self-definition and a strong feeling that they need to make a significant difference in the world. They are strong-willed, independent thinkers who prefer to be self-guided rather than directed by others.” Indigo’s are also “unique in the way they see things and will not conform in order to fit into society. Indigo’s possess wisdom and a high level of awareness ‘beyond their years.‘” And can also be known to be a bit of an ‘old soul‘. To me, this defines Tess, wise beyond her years and creating magical worlds around us, worlds that she ignites other people to see and become a part of, a quality only some possess.
Thats how I see Tess, a little Indigo. Beautiful and always secure with herself and of who she is, which is something we all struggle to perfect, even as adults we are constantly unsure of who we are, and if we believe in ourselves.
Thanks to Tess I do, I believe in myself, but I also believe in looking for the best in everyone I meet, and every situation I cross. Tess taught me patience, and how to be kind to creatures great and small, she taught me that you don’t need wings to fly or fins to swim, she taught me that glitter is ALWAYS appropriate no matter what occasion and that any Hello Kitty accessory is a stylish accessory. But most of all she taught me that there is beauty in everything and in everyone, and that there is always a bright side to everything.
Sometimes life can through us curve balls, and sometimes life is unfair. But there are people in our lives to remind us of how lucky we are, for our health, for the opportunity to have gotten to know them, and for the miracle that is life itself. Tess’s time with us was cut short, and that was not fair, but maybe God needed her looking down on us more then we needed her with us physically.
At the beginning of this blog post I quoted Neil Gaiman, he asked a rhetorical question about the stars, asking if they gaze back at us as we do to them, the answer is yes they do. Tess is proof of that.
“He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the center of its world, as each of us does.”-Neil Gaiman, Stardust