Friday, March 20, 2009

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Silly

When she said it, I imagined that I was sitting in that midnight Savannah garden, eerie moss draped over everything, shrouding unrecognizable images, blurring my perception of security. I had just gazed into the eyes of that mischievously knowing voodoo woman who had looked across the veil and seen a warning, one that made my skin crawl. A feeling of uneasiness enveloped my heart.

But that was my imagination.

In reality I was sitting in Nanny Delaney's living room in broad daylight. I was picking up Baby Jack B'Hat after a challenging day at work, and all I wanted was to get home, kick off my heels, enjoy a cup of something nice, and play with the baby. I had made the mistake of mentioning to Nanny Delaney that last night - the past three nights, actually - Jack had woken up screaming, that it wasn't crying, even. It was like something was hurting him, badly. It was a blood curdling scream that had me flying from my bed to him before my brain had fully recognized that it was 3:00 am, that there might be some sort of danger, or that I was awake at all. But I didn't say all of that. All I said was, "Jack's been waking up screaming in the night. I don't think he's sick. Do you think it could be teething?"

That's when she said what she said. Before I tell you what it is, I have to say that I had heard it before. Because of that, I was able to both give some credence to her statement, as much as repetition allows, and also I could be dismissive of it because I had already thought about it through a lens of rationality. The idea was bogus, I decided.

So, here's what she said.

"No, I don't think Jack is sick or teething. He's seeing spirits. Babies are more connected with the spiritual world, so probably there was some soul passing through his room, and it woke him up and frightened him."


When I was a kid, I was terrified of seeing anything supernatural. In my defense, I had a huge imagination. As I've mentioned before, I thought my parents were robots like in Superman III, and there were times I was terrified that they might malfunction someday, that their skin would melt off and I would be staring at their silvery, wiry, singed innards.

Also, I had been taught that the spiritual world was very much tangible, that the angels and demons were literally waging war in my backyard - fighting for the mortal souls of this earth (read 'fighting for my mortal soul that happened to be steeped in sinful thoughts and actions'; read 'it's all your fault, Ginger.' That was my perception, anyway). I knew that in the Bible there were many folks who were visited by angels, and that sometimes in the modern world angels might drop by on occasion to warn you about impending doom, to go over battle plans, or just to play Q-Bert or something, though obviously "hang out" angels were usually sent to people who were dying or to those in the Big Brother/Big Sister program (poor, angel-needing souls).

I knew of stories where some one's recently deceased grandfather came and sat on his granddaughters bed to read her one last story and to give her some sort of comfort, the proof being that the the next morning the bedspread was still wrinkled where he had sat.

All of this was supposed to be comforting - to help us understand that there is life after death, and that if I loved God enough and in the right way (i.e. Jesus is the son of God, baptism by dunking NOT sprinkling, etc.), it would be paradise.

Despite all of these "comforting" ideas, I was TERRIFIED. I actively prayed every night that God would NOT send me an angel or a dead grandparent. I didn't think I could handle it, and God wouldn't send me anything I couldn't handle, right? It was the deal*. "Please, please, please, please - nothing supernatural tonight- please!"

This is why what Nanny Delaney said was a bit unsettling. I obviously didn't want some errant spirit passing through the baby's room. It's also why every time he screams, that thought lingers in my brain, which leads me to the occurrences of Wednesday night.

To be continued..

* A professor at my recent trek to Rice said, "By the way, God not giving you stuff you can't handle.. (laughing) Bull shit. Things people can't handle is why they go crazy." I agree.

5 comments:

Wunderwoman said...

I am the same way you are, I don't want to see spirits! but on the other hand, I would like some reassurance everything is okay when we leave this earth, why oh why can't we have it both ways?

Amy said...

Alyce does the same thing. I do not think she is seeing things. She wants to be with her Daddy and I. Or she is teething or who knows. I am not sure what I really think though.

Bonnie said...

It actually sounds like night terrors. Spencer used to get these when he was a little one. He would wake up screaming and start pacing back and forth in his crib. He looked like he was wide awake, but in reality he was sound asleep. The pediatrician told us it was actually quite common and he would outgrow it. Our biggest job was to make sure he didn't hurt himself while he paced. It usually always happened around 2 in the morning. He finally outgrew it when he turned 2.

Nemo said...

I'd have to agree with Bonnie, but only because that one episode of Gilmore Girls where Kirk runs around naked while screaming at the top of his lungs. Seeing as, you know, I don't have any experience in that area.

Renee said...

I also agree with Bonnie. Night terrors are common, and Jack should outgrow it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Silly

When she said it, I imagined that I was sitting in that midnight Savannah garden, eerie moss draped over everything, shrouding unrecognizable images, blurring my perception of security. I had just gazed into the eyes of that mischievously knowing voodoo woman who had looked across the veil and seen a warning, one that made my skin crawl. A feeling of uneasiness enveloped my heart.

But that was my imagination.

In reality I was sitting in Nanny Delaney's living room in broad daylight. I was picking up Baby Jack B'Hat after a challenging day at work, and all I wanted was to get home, kick off my heels, enjoy a cup of something nice, and play with the baby. I had made the mistake of mentioning to Nanny Delaney that last night - the past three nights, actually - Jack had woken up screaming, that it wasn't crying, even. It was like something was hurting him, badly. It was a blood curdling scream that had me flying from my bed to him before my brain had fully recognized that it was 3:00 am, that there might be some sort of danger, or that I was awake at all. But I didn't say all of that. All I said was, "Jack's been waking up screaming in the night. I don't think he's sick. Do you think it could be teething?"

That's when she said what she said. Before I tell you what it is, I have to say that I had heard it before. Because of that, I was able to both give some credence to her statement, as much as repetition allows, and also I could be dismissive of it because I had already thought about it through a lens of rationality. The idea was bogus, I decided.

So, here's what she said.

"No, I don't think Jack is sick or teething. He's seeing spirits. Babies are more connected with the spiritual world, so probably there was some soul passing through his room, and it woke him up and frightened him."


When I was a kid, I was terrified of seeing anything supernatural. In my defense, I had a huge imagination. As I've mentioned before, I thought my parents were robots like in Superman III, and there were times I was terrified that they might malfunction someday, that their skin would melt off and I would be staring at their silvery, wiry, singed innards.

Also, I had been taught that the spiritual world was very much tangible, that the angels and demons were literally waging war in my backyard - fighting for the mortal souls of this earth (read 'fighting for my mortal soul that happened to be steeped in sinful thoughts and actions'; read 'it's all your fault, Ginger.' That was my perception, anyway). I knew that in the Bible there were many folks who were visited by angels, and that sometimes in the modern world angels might drop by on occasion to warn you about impending doom, to go over battle plans, or just to play Q-Bert or something, though obviously "hang out" angels were usually sent to people who were dying or to those in the Big Brother/Big Sister program (poor, angel-needing souls).

I knew of stories where some one's recently deceased grandfather came and sat on his granddaughters bed to read her one last story and to give her some sort of comfort, the proof being that the the next morning the bedspread was still wrinkled where he had sat.

All of this was supposed to be comforting - to help us understand that there is life after death, and that if I loved God enough and in the right way (i.e. Jesus is the son of God, baptism by dunking NOT sprinkling, etc.), it would be paradise.

Despite all of these "comforting" ideas, I was TERRIFIED. I actively prayed every night that God would NOT send me an angel or a dead grandparent. I didn't think I could handle it, and God wouldn't send me anything I couldn't handle, right? It was the deal*. "Please, please, please, please - nothing supernatural tonight- please!"

This is why what Nanny Delaney said was a bit unsettling. I obviously didn't want some errant spirit passing through the baby's room. It's also why every time he screams, that thought lingers in my brain, which leads me to the occurrences of Wednesday night.

To be continued..

* A professor at my recent trek to Rice said, "By the way, God not giving you stuff you can't handle.. (laughing) Bull shit. Things people can't handle is why they go crazy." I agree.

5 comments:

Wunderwoman said...

I am the same way you are, I don't want to see spirits! but on the other hand, I would like some reassurance everything is okay when we leave this earth, why oh why can't we have it both ways?

Amy said...

Alyce does the same thing. I do not think she is seeing things. She wants to be with her Daddy and I. Or she is teething or who knows. I am not sure what I really think though.

Bonnie said...

It actually sounds like night terrors. Spencer used to get these when he was a little one. He would wake up screaming and start pacing back and forth in his crib. He looked like he was wide awake, but in reality he was sound asleep. The pediatrician told us it was actually quite common and he would outgrow it. Our biggest job was to make sure he didn't hurt himself while he paced. It usually always happened around 2 in the morning. He finally outgrew it when he turned 2.

Nemo said...

I'd have to agree with Bonnie, but only because that one episode of Gilmore Girls where Kirk runs around naked while screaming at the top of his lungs. Seeing as, you know, I don't have any experience in that area.

Renee said...

I also agree with Bonnie. Night terrors are common, and Jack should outgrow it.