My youngest daughter had been reticent for a good while as we were driving home in my truck when she suddenly turned to look at me from her car-seat in the back. I looked in my rear-view at her ridiculously blue eyes, and in a matter-of-fact tone, she said “dad, I love you guys way more than my last family. You know, the mom and dad I had two thousand years ago.” Frankly it freaked me out a little bit. I turned around when we got to a stop light and made eye contact just to make sure she hadn’t sprouted horns or something; she gave me a content little smile and looked back out her window. That was that. Weirdness came out of her mouth, my eyes got wide, and then she drifted back off to that mystical little place where four-year-olds live.
That’s just some nonsense that children say, right? I mean, it’s not like my precious little monster is actually some reincarnated soul that remembers a past life, right? I guess I’ve got a weird streak too because I my thoughts went down that road. What if she can remember past lives? What if she has some sort of special power that gives her insight alien to the rest of us? What if she’s some sort of reincarnated deity and there’s a group of her followers out there that’ll find this blog via Google and then show up at my door dressed in white and smelling of incense? What if I just took this way too far?
A couple weeks passed and we were on our way home when I heard her say “daddy?” from the backseat again. I took a deep breath and met her eyes in my mirror once more hoping that she just had to go potty or something and I shit you not, she said “don’t worry daddy, it’ll all be over soon because I’m dreaming”. I had to argue with this one so I said “no hunny, we’re awake right now.” She looked at me with that small smile we all reserve for idiots and said “No we’re not. I can always tell when I’m dreaming because I can wake up. Silly daddy.” I wanted to respond but it was too late. She was already looking out her window and our conversation was over.
I guess maybe moments like these might be karmic retribution; sometimes I mess with my children. It’s a father’s right. On a different ride home, my daughter told me that the music was too loud as she covered her perfect little ears with her perpetually sticky hands. I looked at her in the mirror and said “that’s only because you’re not dancing. Music can never be too loud if you’re dancing”. She considered that for a moment, and then broke out into some dance moves that were hard to distinguish from an epileptic seizure. She smiled and told me I was right. A few months ago before the snow stuck to this desert of ours, she and I were outside playing with a pinwheel and laughing. The wind stopped, her pinwheel slowed, and her smile turned upside down. I looked at her with a grave expression and asked her if “daddy should use some of his magic to make the wind come back.” She nodded as if I were asking about something commonplace, I pretended to concentrate and made a vague hand gesture, and luckily, the wind picked up and her pinwheel started spinning. She nodded her little head and smiled; she’s completely convinced that I have wizard like control over the elements and I’m not saying anything to dissuade her. Sue me.
The last bit of creepiness happened only a few nights ago when I heard her start crying in her room and then abruptly go quiet. I went to investigate and comfort, but when I asked her what was wrong, she said “nothing. I was scared of death, but then I remembered that you’re stronger than death and you can squish him.” I gave her a long hug that was just as much for my comfort as it was hers and then I left her in the comfort of a large blanket and the dark. At first, I was only bothered by the fact that she referred to death as “him”. It’s not like we tell her stories of the grim reaper at bed time so I have no clue where she got that. But when I was almost back to my couch and its pillows, I froze in mid stride totally rocked by the implications of what she had said. That little blissful creature that is my youngest daughter had an ungodly amount of faith in me, and I can’t help but think that it might be misplaced. Sometimes, the stresses of my rather comfortable life seem almost insurmountable. Sometimes, it feels as if even the mundane bullshit might crush me. However, this daughter of mine, this pure little blue eyed girl, knows for a fact that her daddy is strong enough to defeat death as if “he” were merely a fly under my mighty boot. That’s a lot to live up to. I went back to my couch hoping that I could be one tenth of what she expects.
Anyway, I’ve decided just to roll with it. Other than searching Craig’s List for a charlatan specializing in exorcisms, I really don’t have much choice. Kids just say crazy things. That has to be it. It’s a fact; Bill Cosby made a fortune on a show based on it once his pudding-pop career started going downhill so it has to be true. She still spouts off with some weird shit now and then but I keep telling myself that it’ll be okay. When she walks up to my wife and tells her that “grandpa Lynn isn’t real anymore because he’s dead” we all laugh (which is weird in and of itself). When she wakes up from a nap and walks over to me and says “dad, I’m sorry for not singing to you for a hundred years” I just hug her (that one’s from today by the way). My daughter is weird, weird is special, and special is wonderful. That’s how we see it.
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