Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Old Soul

Rarely a day goes by that I don't at some point wish I could call my mom. When I was pregnant, I called my mom every day on my way home from school. As soon as I got on the highway, I picked up the phone and called her to tell her about my day and what wonderful things Baby Day was doing in my tummy. As her health deteriorated, she often said "I just want to see that baby."

As much as I miss my mom and wish I could rely on her for baby advice, I know we would have battled over everything, just as we always did. She fought time and again for Mike and I to get married at Wright's Chicken Farm, an all you can eat family style chicken restaurant known for hosting high school homecoming dances and little league awards nights. It is good, but I really didn't want to serve my wedding guests bowls of french fries. She persisted until it was an argument. That sums up Mom and I: two stubborn women who think they know best.

Two years ago, I was getting out of the house with a four week old Liam. I had just purchased some Bath and Body Works hand soaps to help my bleeding, over washed, new mamma hands. Dad called to tell me we needed to get down to Florida. Dr. Martinez suggested we get down there while Mom would still know who we were. We booked the flight that afternoon and headed down two days later. Mom spent most of the weekend thinking Liam was my thirty-four year old sister. She saw who she had fought so hard to see and signed a very strict DNR the morning after we left.

Liam has this picture on his dresser. Photobucket It was the only time he ever met his nana. I've often asked him who the other people are on his dresser. One afternoon this past summer, I decided to ask him "Where's Nana?" I hadn't really said much about her to him. He pointed right to the picture. Intrigued, I took him to the living room to show him a picture of Mom and her two sisters at a cousin's wedding. "Where's Nana?" Again, he pointed to my mom. Mike was very matter of fact about the matter. "We would be naive to think that your mom isn't watching over him."

We had a few little things happen here and there. Liam would wave at no one. Liam and I were brushing our teeth over the summer and the whole area began to smell of lilacs. Again, Liam began to wave at no one.

Last night was Kristy's birthday and the anniversary of us going to down to let Liam meet his Nana. It is hard to believe it has been two years since I have seen my mom. Last year, I tried to plan a night with my friends to keep busy and that flaked out on me. This year, I kept it simple. I planned a birthday dinner for Kristy and her closest friends. We had a great time. Kristy has been blessed with keeping a close group of friends since middle school. They are fantastic people.

They left about eight because we are all old and lame and they realized Liam was ready to dreamland. Usual, uneventful night time routine follows: train books, bath, teeth brushing, run across the room for PJs. We're in the living room putting Liam into his adorable fleece footed PJs when he starts looking up and zoning. He is looking past Mike and I towards the ceiling. He clenches his fists and hold his arms close to his body. He has a weird smile on his face and his eyes are gazing ahead. At first, Mike and I assumed he was being silly but, as it went on for a minute or two, we started to get concerned.

"He sees something."
"Liam, do you see someone?"
"Liam, who are your playing with?"
"Apple pie," he tries to tell us several times before we figure out what he is saying. I don't make apple pies because I don't eat them and Mike can't resist temptation of apple pie so it is never in my house. We tried to give Liam a piece of apple pie at Thanksgiving in Maine and he wanted no part of it. Therefore, I have no clue why he decided to say apple pie.

At this point, I am almost in tears as the epiphany hits us. "Liam, is Nana here playing with you?" I ask. Mike repeats the question. Liam is now standing up and dressed in his footed snowman PJs. He randomly puts away a giant stuffed lion that happened to be on the couch. We ask him the question a few times. He points to the doorway of the living room and says "Nana door."

Now there is no stopping the tears. He is waving to the empty doorway and saying "Hi, Nana." Since Mike's grandmother, who also went by "Nana," passed away when Liam was two months old, Mike asked "Who's Nana is here, Liam?"
"Mommy's Nana."
I asked again to be certain. "Who's playing with you, Liam? Who's here?"
"Mommy's Nana. Door." He points again to the doorway.

After a few minutes, he stopped. "Of course your mom would spend the night with your girls on Kristy's birthday," Mike explained. We were awestruck while it was happening but now left with the time to let the events sink in. I'm not sure where to go from here. "Ask his teachers if they play a game and do that motion," Mike suggested. We both knew the answer but felt the need to through it out there anyway. I asked his teachers, stopping several times to beg them not to think I was crazy. Both said this is fairly common and they usually outgrow it. "He has a guardian angel," one summarized.

Mom and I often revealed dreams in which people long gone would visit us. We've both had experiences that can not be merely coincidence. I never thought that it would pass on to my son. I'm still letting the news sink in, trying it on like a new coat. I am beyond glad that she watches over us. I have only experienced two dreams with my mom. One, I was sick on the couch napping and she visited. The night before my birthday, I had a dream that we all got together for dinner for my birthday. That afternoon, as Mike and I drank beer at Game On across from Fenway, I told him about my dream as tears streamed down my face. "She gave me one last family dinner for my birthday."

I inquired Dr Google to tell me about toddlers and spirits. There are a lot of various theories about it. Most sources claim they simply outgrow it by the time they turn five. At this point, I am not sure if I am happy of concerned. As a mother, seeing Liam with this ability creates a mixed blessing. I'm not sure what is going to happen with all of this. Maybe he will outgrow it. Maybe, like my mom's blue eyes, it is another trait that carried on to him.

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