Monday, February 23, 2015
Wallaby and the Ghost
Sounds like the title of a kids book, doesn't it? But, nope, this is one of those "scientist has a spiritual moment" experiences that defy experimentation and proof, and that you just gotta take on faith. And I'm okay with that.
Now, I grew up in a legit haunted house, and it wasn't a happy haunting. More like cold spots, shaking beds, and bad vibes. In the years since, I mostly avoided places that gave me vibes, whether good or bad … until I met Arizona. Somehow, having him at my back made it more manageable--we stayed the night unmolested at the haunted Hawthorne Hotel in Salem Mass, and when we traveled to visit a friend who had neglected to mention that the lake house she had rented was full-on creepy (you know who you are!), I didn't wimp out to a hotel room or a night in the car--I nutted up and picked a room.
I didn't even freak when the lights turned themselves on and off at random, or when items disappeared from our luggage and reappeared elsewhere. Okay, so maybe I needed Arizona to walk me down the hall to the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning, and stand outside the cracked-open door to ward off whatever needed warding off while I peed. But I stuck it out, and even got some sleep. And it makes for a heck of a story!
In the years since, losing two pregnancies broke down my anti-spirit defenses even further, as I learned how to grieve for real. And the passing of Arizona's delightful grandmother last spring, while sad because we all miss her, left behind many lifetimes of good memories in their large, tightly knit family. My big regret was that she didn't get to meet her grandson. I imagined her checking in on us from time to time, though, making sure I was taking good care of Arizona, and vice versa.
Anyway, I'm less of a freak these days about things that go bump in the night. Still, though, I'm the sort of person who checks behind the door and the shower curtain before I use the john, and I can't sleep with my feet hanging off the bed. (Heck, I can't sleep without a white noise generator and several blankets piled on my head--those of you who have shared a room with me can attest!) So it probably should have freaked me out the other night when I woke up at o'dark thirty to feed Wallaby, and there was someone standing on the other side of his crib (which is right up against my side of the bed).
It didn't freak me out, though. It pleased me.
I couldn't see the figure in the darkness, but I knew it was there. Not menacing or protecting, just visiting. I sensed pleasure and approval, and a vibe of just-passing-through. In my half-awake state, I smiled, said, "Hi there." And then I rolled over and dozed for a few more minutes, while Wallaby faced the non-shadow and made happy gabbling baby noises that were so very different from his usual "give me boob or give me death" middle-of-the-night routine. More like he was playing peek-a-boo with his new best friend.
Eventually, those baby noises started escalating to "wait … I think I'm hungry or wet or something", so I got up, walked around the crib, and scooped up Wallaby. I said, "Thank you" to whoever it was--for being there, for talking nicely to the baby, for not scaring me--and then I went into the living room for our usual fresh-diaper-and-Law-and-Order-rerun 2 a.m. feeding routine. Still not freaked out. In fact, I was extra mellow, feeling like, in the midst of all the flesh-and-blood family members visiting to meet the newest member of the clan, someone else had gotten a chance to welcome him to the world.
So who was it? Darned if I know. Arizona and I tried to figure it out the next morning. We both lost maternal grandmothers in the recent past, but the presence had definitely felt more male (or at least not girly) to me. My mother's brother? Maybe, but it didn't feel like Uncle Steve to me, or any of the other possibilities we came up with. (I'll confess that after I put the baby back to bed, I checked both our phones to make sure there weren't any emergency calls regarding our grandfathers, both of whom are in their 90s.)
The closest I can figure, it might have been Arizona's shotgun-toting, school-teaching Granny, who passed a while back and was a tough enough bird to fit the vibe. Not to mention that just about every family member I've met has said, "It's too bad you didn't get to meet Granny. She would have loved you." (She apparently adored books and authors.) And I've talked to her once or twice out loud, asking her to look after the little ones we lost.
So could it have been her, stopping in to meet Wallaby? Who knows. But I like to think it was. And it's nice to know he's got himself a guardian angel.