Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Helen Baldwin avatar

by Helen Baldwin |

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I’ve been in awe of spectacular night skies for as long as I can remember.

When our family moved to the mountains of North Carolina (close to the stunning Blue Ridge Parkway) at the end of 1995, we realized that we were privy to the magical skies we had seen in planetariums. With minimal pollution, no city lights, and only a smattering of other lights, we can almost touch the stars.

A full moon showcasing the snow-covered field across the road will have me gawking at the window. It’s the only time we can see the field and any visiting critters after dark.

We aren’t the only ones to recognize and appreciate the breathtaking artistry of the skies in these mountains. Several years ago, a guest with a telescope stayed in our rental cabin and excitedly wrote:

One of the great things to see … right here at the cabin … is the night sky! I brought my telescope and set up right between the two ponds. As far as I could tell, the sky was about as dark and clear as anywhere in N.C., except perhaps on or right near the Outer Banks! The Milky Way when it rose was rich in stars; Saturn was magnificent (steady skies helped); I could even see some fairly faint galaxies and nebulae in my small refractor. … Definitely worth seeing … and if you don’t have a telescope, bring binoculars or just sit down at the pond at night with the frogs and watch the fireflies!!! Very magical! — Robert

Yes, magical pretty much sums it up.

Miracle, too.


The Bible mentions stars as part of God’s handiwork in the creation (Genesis I:14-19, New King James Version):

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.


Much of our infant son Jeffrey’s time here was spent happily in my lap. He loved to carry on a conversation, though I usually did the talking. He didn’t mind; he was a stellar listener. He was perfectly content with just about anything until SMA’s wrath came in earnest, requiring more focus on keeping him comfortable.

During those precious minutes with Jeffrey in my lap, I often sensed that he wasn’t really paying attention to me. At times, he concentrated on something beyond me. One of my favorite pictures of Jeffrey and his adoring siblings, Matthew and Katie, was taken as our SMA assignment was winding down. In it, our little one with the old soul is as giddy as our stargazing cabin guest. What a great comfort it remains to think he was trying to explain to Matthew and Katie how wonderful things were about to become, that he was going to the perfect place — even more perfect than his earthly family!

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From left, Matthew, Jeffrey, and Katie. (Photo by Helen Baldwin)

I’ve thought he was also assuring them, and all of us, that he wasn’t going far away. I imagine, too, that he was attempting to alert us to the signs that would be coming soon — reminders that he was safe and happy and watching over us.

He didn’t mention that the signs would begin almost immediately. Or maybe he did.


Jeffrey’s final days as an earthling weren’t easy. His tendency to dip into respiratory distress despite increasing dosages of morphine and suctioning warranted constant attention and ceaseless prayers.

He seemed to accept it as part of his assignment.

Until it was time.


God created the stars as part of the fourth day of his magnificent creation.

Jeffrey donned his wings late at night on the fourth day of a month that gave eventful new meaning.

The first sign, designed by God, that our very special little guy had reached the safety of heaven? A twinkling star, right outside our window.

Magical … and miraculous.

A perfect promise.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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