“I see Boomba!” Lil’ Bit announced.
I looked around in confusion. We were in the car, heading home from work and school. What could possibly have reminded her of my grandmother?
“I see Boomba!” Lil’ Bit said again, pointing toward the local cemetery.
My very much alive grandmother…
“I see Boomba!” Lil’ Bit squealed with glee as we again drove past the cemetery the following morning.
At which point I was sufficiently freaked out.
Surely, if something had happened to my grandmother, my parents would have called me.
Unless they didn’t know…
What if no one knew? Sure, Boomba received round-the-clock care at her state of the art retirement center; but what if by some crazy fluke she had suffered an acute medical trauma and was lying incapacitated in her tiny apartment, her only means for calling for help being through her 2-year-old, clairvoyant great-granddaughter?
Yes, because that was the most logical explanation, I thought with an inward eye roll. The inside of my head is a strange and wondrous dwelling.
Nevertheless, I was unable to shake my paranoia. So, I called my father – marveling at my own absurdity even as I did so. What the hell was I going to say when he answered?
“Hey Dad,” I said casually. “Have you talked to Boomba lately?”
“A few days ago,” he answered, understandably confused by this abrupt early morning inquiry.
“Was she OK?”
“Yeah,” he said, leaving me feeling all at once relieved and desperately foolish. “Why?”
“I don’t want to say.”
“What’s going on, Kristin?”
I heaved a defeated sigh. No way out of this one.
“OK, fine,” I said. “But you’re gonna think I’m crazy. I think I’m crazy.”
And with that fair warning, I relayed the strange circumstances surrounding my last two commutes.
“Oh, that’s easy,” said Dad, his sudden clarity mingled with amusement. He then reminded me that following a visit with my grandmother over the holidays, we had stopped by the cemetery where my late grandfather is buried – whereupon Lil’ Bit had scuffed up her brand new black patent leather Mary Janes climbing all over Denda’s head stone.
(Stop laughing – I named my grandparents when I was a year old.)
“She’s just associating the cemetery with Boomba,” Dad concluded.
Right. This definitely made more sense than my paranormal-based theory.
“But why wouldn’t she just associate it with Denda?” I wondered. “We certainly talked about him enough while we were there.”
But she had never actually met Denda, Dad said logically; He was not a tangible being, whereas Boomba was. Leading me to think – not for the first time – that the inside of a 2-year-old’s head is also a strange and wondrous dwelling.
As we drove past the cemetery later that afternoon, Lil’ Bit again proclaimed that she saw Boomba. But this time I was ready.
“No, you see Denda,” I corrected her. “The cemetery is where Denda lives.”
“I see Boomba and Denda!” she replied happily.
Feeling resigned, I decided not to press the issue. If Boomba had one foot in the grave, according to her great-granddaughter, then at least she was in good company.
Not long afterward, however, I knelt in front of Lil’ Bit combing her hair before a weekend outing. We were in my bedroom.
“I see Gaga,” she said suddenly, her eyes intently focused on mine.
I felt the hair on the back of my neck prickle; I was quite sure I had never mentioned my other, long-deceased grandfather in her presence.
Taking her gently by the shoulders, I looked her in the eye and repeated the statement back to her in question form.
“You see Gaga?”
She nodded solemnly.
My gaze followed hers as she pointed toward the window next to my closet. “Right dere,” she said firmly.
This time, I did not question, nor try to make sense of it; She was two years old, after all. I simply cast a weak smile at the empty space before me.
Has your child ever said something that’s given you pause?