Monday, September 24, 2012

My Daughter

In the summer of 2005, my daughter was just about to turn 3. I lived across the street from a small copse of trees, a community mailbox, and a pond/park. We were leaving the house to head across the park to the local corner store, and she walked out in front of me. I turned to lock the door behind me when she said "Your dad says 'Hi'". I nearly dropped my keys, and froze in place. I said "Pardon?", and she repeated "Your dad says Hi". My dad died in 1996, before any of my children were born, and I rarely talked about him to my children because I did not want to confuse youngsters with talk of death and dying yet. My oldest child was almost 8 at the time but was not with us. I did not know how to handle this sudden, strange situation, but I had to get some answers.

I tried to be as casual as possible, but still could not make myself turn around. I said "Who says Hi?" and she was very frustrated in her answers to me from then on. She said, loudly and toddler-obnoxiously - "YOUR DAD" (like I was some sort of idiot for not hearing her the first two times). I turned to face her and she was standing half way down our long sidewalk, looking at me like I was stupid. I said something like "oh okay, so..... where is my dad?" and she pointed across the street, in the direction of the mail box or the trees behind and beside it, and said in an even more frustrated tone "He is RIGHT OVER THERE!". I nearly fainted. I thought perhaps I had led her into that answer by asking her where he was, but I did not know another way in my stunned frame of mind to ask. I said something like "WHERE is my dad?" and she really got annoyed with me then and said "He is RIGHT OVER THERE, with your grandma".

Well, that was it for me. I was ready to run for the hills. My dad's mother passed away a few years after he did and that's all I could think about. Was my dad really standing there across the road, with his mother? Was this some way to let me know that they were together? Had my daughter seen them before? What the heck was happening? I didn't want to read too much into it, but it is really hard to process how she could have come up with this stuff. For one thing, she had never met my grandmothers. They live on the total opposite side of Canada, and I have only seen them a few times myself. I do not have photos of them around, or my father for that matter, and I did not chat with them on the phone for her to hear, etc. It was just too weird for her to say something like that, so out of the blue.

Then my daughter said "Your dad says he likes you, he doesn't love you, but he likes you". She was a bit more halting while saying all of that. She was an excellent talker for her age, but was still only 2 years old, a couple weeks or so from turning 3.Her words were loud and clear and while she seemed final in her speaking, she still seemed a bit confused or unsure in that last sentence. I said 'Oh Okay' and then realized that we should get going to the store, and we started to cross the street. She never said anything else about it and did not look or point to that area again. I could not bring myself to look there either, afraid I would see a shimmer in the air or something lol. But as we passed that spot, I muttered under my breath "Hi Dad. Don't do that to me again!". I did not say it mean, but more like 'you scared the living crap out of me, please dont do that again'. I regret saying that because I have always wondered if it was really him, or really them, and if they might have appeared another time with a message. I dont know what my daughter meant when she said 'he likes you, but doesnt love you' but if it was indeed some sort of message from my dad, I think she was too young to interpret it properly, or something, because I cant see my dad saying something like that directly lol. But whatever. It was without a doubt the weirdest day of my life.

I should also point out that my daughter called my mom Grammie, not grandma. That was not a term she used for anyone at that time, so it was extra kind of weird for her to say it.

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