I’ve only just switched off the lights and said goodnight. Crossing the landing to the mess of my own room is like bliss. Only because of the stillness. On the edge of my bed I stare into thin air. My thoughts are nothing, my mind is nothing. Who knew two little people could be so draining. Still. Right now. Stillness. Nothing. Nothingness
“Mummy, there’s a lady in my room”
I turn to face him.
He’s standing in my doorway, staring straight at me. His face is completely neutral. No real shock, no real fear, no laughing either. Probably because we’re used to it now. That bloody lady.
“Don’t worry baby, I ll get the water”
In the early months of this year, Coco was having a nap in the afternoon in my bedroom. I heard him crying as he woke so I went up to him and got him ready to come to the kitchen. With a glass of water by the sink, he looks up at me:
“Mummy why was that lady going like this to me?” he sticks his tongue out and pulls a face.
“The lady in your room by the curtain”
My heart leapt into my throat. My muscles tensed and my eyes froze on him. I licked the corners of my mouth, gathering seconds, as I exhaled, wanting to freak but being the excellent mother that I am, I breathed in, pulled a poker face and said:
“Oh did you see a lady? I’m not sure why she did that but if she scares you, tell her to go away”
Oh my God. WTF. I want to fall apart. I am all things to my son. Ghostbuster? I am not.
” She scared me mummy, she did like this [pull face] and I said ahhh and I put my head under the pillow and I was crying”
I got down to his level and stroked his sweet gorgeous cheeks and like any other parenting moment I had no clue what to say or what to do. And where was my mother to instruct me, or where is that manual they keep saying doesn’t exist. ‘Bout time they write one, and please include a chapter on ghostbusting.
“Mummy is here, no one can hurt you, O.K baby? She’s gone now”
And just like that he carries on with his day.
But I was left at the sink, shitting myself. Sorry but its true. I did not know what to do or who to turn to at that very moment. Who talks about these things in this day and age? Maybe it’ll go away, maybe it was his imagination. Perhaps he was dreaming.
That’s too easy though. And the niggling feeling at the back of my head is the fact that my family are “sensitive”, admittedly including myself. Psychic though? I don’t think so. Mediums? Definitely not. Healers? Who knows. But my mum, my cousin, my brother, my sister all share the same thing..some kind of sensitivity to the unknown, that’s inexplicable. In my family it’s a bit of a taboo though, because we are Catholics after all and that spiritual malarkey is blasphemy and should be put to rest with a handful of Hail Mary’s and an Our Father.
I felt stuck to the kitchen sink. I did everything I could right there because I didn’t want to move but then I felt overcome with shame about the fear that was looming over me. And I felt more stuck. I faffed around, cooked as much as I could, cleaned everything in sight because i didn’t want to think of upstairs and the lady that was in my room.
Soon it was bath time and the house was dark. Those winter months are so dark. Gosh. I switched all the lights on and cursed the high ceilings and the long staircases of this house. As I called out bath time, Coco and Labelle rounded at my side. My gut churned when Coco didn’t dash up the stairs in his usual manner laughing and calling out for his sister.
The three of us walked up the stairs at Labelle’s tiny pace, I tried to make light of the situation, I cheered them up the stairs, I encouraged Coco to run along. But our pace stayed the same. As we reached the top, turned the corner, past the bathroom, past their room, Coco picked up his pace and walked first into my bedroom, i felt encouraged.
The room was dark.
As I approached he called out ” There she is mummy!”
My heart swelled with fear as my steps brought me closer, I held Labelle’s tiny hand for comfort. My throat seized with a lump, chocking me, and as I stepped into the darkness of my room I reached for the light and with a switch, the light flooded the room.
Coco looked at me, then back the curtain, then back at me..
“See baby, there’s no one there.. she’s gone”
And that was the beginning of the Madness that ensues…
Of course the next day I ran to Google to tell me what to do! I found a Medium who advised me on children’s abilities to see “things”. Great. And that they usually grow out of it by the time they are 7. Double Great. Man, am I going to be dealing with Ghosts till they’re 7? I can’t cope with this. She reckons I passed it on to him.
So now, not only am I super Mum, am also professional Ghostbuster! Can I add that to my CV? Or is that another unsuitable skill as would have it my legal recruitment consultant.
Our bedtime routine now consists of bath, jumping on bed, shouting (me) laughing (them) taking ages to put the pyjamas on, bed, books, switching off the light, her appearance and then throwing holy water around the room as they giggle.
Who said parenting was easy?