A Daughter’s Tale
(06/27/2009 – Tokoni)
As soon as my daughter began to talk, she started to tell us a story. It took several months for us to understand it as her grasp on language improved, but as our comprehension grew, I became more engrossed and curious, and my wife more curious but fearful. It also explained so much about my daughter and her wishes while she was a child, and perhaps explains why she is the way she is today.
To sum up her story, this is what she basically told us:
“I used to be a boy, but I drowned. Then I had to wait in some place for a long, long time. Then I was here. And I want to be a boy again.”
Odd thing for a two year old to say, and this was the first real story she ever told us.
I poked and prodded, asking for more – and we got it in bits and drabs. The place she waited was apparently featureless, or at least she could recall no features about it. She gave my wife a name, then my wife went looking until she found that name — in a cemetery registry about sixty miles away. She took it upon herself to go to that cemetery – I don’t know which one – and sure enough, there was a grave with that name listed, and a little boy rested inside. According to the records she found, this little boy had died of drowning or suffocation. I would of gone and taken my daughter to see this place where (perhaps) her former body rested, but I was at work at the time, and didn’t know about my wife’s venture. But when I came home I found my wife pale and shaken and refusing to talk about it anymore.
My mom, a witch, said that this was because children are sometimes born with their “third eye” open – something I am not afraid of, but my wife, being of a more superstitious nature, is. Where I saw it as a wonderful gift to have, my wife began shushing my daughter, and refusing to let her talk about her story of her ‘past life’. My wife wouldn’t even tell me the location of the grave, nor the name my daughter had given her. And slowly that third eye closed.
But meanwhile my daughter insisted she wanted to be a boy – wearing boy’s underwear, and teaching herself to stand up and pee. “Look, daddy!” she once proudly exclaimed from the bathroom. “I can pee like a boy!” I went in to find her standing there – peeing standing up. I was both proud and troubled, but patted her on the back and told her “good job – it’s a skill you might find useful some day.” And then I encouraged her to pee as little girls should — because, after all – she’s a girl. Dolls and carriages weren’t for her; she preferred to play with little farm animals, and stealing her older brother’s cars and trucks when she could.
Over time my daughter has never lost those boyhood characteristics. No, she’s not a lesbian – she’s ‘straight’ – but she also is an excellent shot with a gun, isn’t put off by things most women think of as ‘gross’ (eg skinning and gutting a deer), and isn’t afraid of mice and snakes. She loves adventure, driving her huge truck through the mud, and taking on physical challenges. She has bow fished, and a black belt in karate. She is fiercely independent — but is afraid to be at home at night alone. She can fight like a man, but she can love like a woman – wholeheartedly, and sometimes with too much trust and possessiveness. She is tough and fearless, a fire-fighter as well — but also extremely tender and sweet, and is protective of children. Odd such combinations are there.
I think about that sometimes, the story she told us. What a tale for a child to tell, especially one of your own! She doesn’t remember that story; only what she’s been told she told us, and that it frightened her mom. It doesn’t frighten her, though she has at times expressed regret that her mother made her shut up about it. But I find my mind drawn to it sometimes, for I still find it interesting – where was she while she waited that “long, long time?”. Did she come back because she was a child whose life had been cut short? And why a girl if she had been a boy? Does that tell us something about the essences of ourselves, our spirit? Somehow I think it does.
I’m not by any standards your standard religious man. I have much too much a scientific bent to openly accept such things – but on the other hand, having been trained to be a scientist, I know there is much that we don’t know, can’t see or measure. So I can neither discount nor accept it as a ‘proven fact’. I figure I’ll find out when I get there – wherever ‘there’ is, if there is a ‘there’ to go to.
But according to my daughter and the tale she told us – there is a ‘there’ somewhere – and we’ll spend some time waiting, perhaps, for our time to come back.
Interesting, I think that is. And that’s what I plan to have inscribed on my tombstone. These four words:
“That Was Interesting!”
Who knows? Perhaps one day I’ll read that on some old grave — and wonder who it was that wrote it.
( PS: And here we are, two years later. On April Fools Day, I got my own eyes opened; actually, all of ‘us’ did. We got in touch with our own ‘god’ – and the god that surrounds us. From that point on – I’m a believer in reincarnation, as well as a bunch of other things. Mix ’em all up, pour ’em in a blender – then see what you got: that’s my religion or philosophy. For more on that, you can always visit http://wp.me/p1t0dv-6t, which gives just a little bit on my own religious philosophy.)