It was a sunny Saturday spring morning in Dallas when something extraordinary happened. Our precocious three-year-old son, Michael, was happily playing with his transformer cars on the dining room floor. His dad was at work and I was cleaning the house.
Zoom, zoom. Bam! Crash. He was completely absorbed in the drama of making the cars crash and regroup. As an only child who was around adults much of the time, Michael was an early walker and talker. Life was a constant blur of fun, mud pies, discoveries and new ideas. He woke up chattering and went to bed with a smile on his little face.
That morning, our sleek princess type phone perched on a low shelf suddenly rang. Michael bounced up to answer it, despite my protests. “Let Mommy get it, honey.” Wiping my hands on a dust cloth, I tried to get him to give me the receiver. Totally ignoring me, he happily said,
“Hello!” and launched into a joyous conversation.
“Give Mommy the phone, please. Who are you talking to?”
He was absorbed in conversation, answering questions and laughing and suddenly he said, “Okay. Thank you. I love you too! Bye-bye!” and hung up the phone with a huge smile and sparkling eyes.
A little exasperated, I questioned him about who had called. It was not normal for someone to call for a three-year-old. He grinned, nodded and said, “It was Grandma Jean.”
What?? “Oh no, sweetie, it couldn’t be Grandma Jean. She’s in heaven with Jesus and you never even met her. You remember seeing pictures of her but she went to heaven before you were born.”
My mother had died seven months before Michael was born and although his little cousins remembered their Grandma Jean, Michael had only ever heard her name and seen some pictures. Really, what could a three year old know about his deceased grandmother?
One of the saddest parts of my life was when both of my parents died at very young ages. Newly married and becoming pregnant within three months, should have been a time of excited joy, but I felt really alone. With no parents, especially no mother to advise and to celebrate the birth of my son, I felt unprepared. Little questions about the care and feeding of an infant went unanswered. And this was before the days of Google or YouTube. My husband’s mother was kind, but, really, it just wasn’t the same.
Everyday for years, a question would pop into my head or a thought I’d like to share with Mother, only to remember that she was gone. I sometimes wondered what she would think about this sunny and outgoing little boy who shared her red hair. Sighing, I concluded that I would never really know. That spring morning changed everything.
Crouching to his level, I gathered him in a hug and said, “Honey, you can tell me who called. Really, I need to know who you were talking to. And it wasn’t your Grandma Jean. Now, who called?”
Michael stamped his little foot, put fists on his hips and insisted. “It was Grandma Jean! That’s who called me.” Sitting beside him on the floor, I decided to play along. “Okay, so it was
Grandma Jean calling you on the phone. What did she have to say?”
“Oh, she asked me how I was doing. And she said she wanted me to know that she is watching over me all the time. And that she sees me and loves me. And she said that she knows all about me.” He grinned and jumped up. “And, she said to tell you that she is watching over you too and that she loves you!”
Done, he grabbed his cars and ran out to the back yard. Stunned, I sat quietly on the floor, rocking back and forth, tears streaming down my face. Could it be? Could my mother have actually reached through time and space, to let her little grandson, and through him, his mother, know that she is still sending love and watching over us both?
In a word.. yes. There was no way a three year old could answer a sudden phone call and make up something like this.
I now have a picture of my mother hanging near my desk and seeing her beautiful smile and sparkling eyes, I breathe a prayer of gratitude. She might be gone, but quite obviously, she didn’t leave us on our own.
Jeanie Brosius King