My dead grandmother is totally messing with me.
Before I even had a hint of the infertility problems that would plague me, before any of my babies were ultimately born, my grandmother envisioned me with a girl.
She was prone to ‘seeing’ things, mostly dead people, but she also had an extremely refined intuition or ESP. She’d offhandedly say things like, “Oh, so and so just died.” While we were busy processing that information, the call would come in. So and so was dead.
So, it was no surprise to me – and I took it as almost a certainty – when eleven years ago, she called, and told me I was pregnant. I had been quietly trying for almost two years at the time of her call. I was seeing doctors, and was on an emotional roller coaster month after depressing month.
“Why haven’t you told me you’re pregnant?” she asked. Her strong, smoky tone was full of reproach.
“Uh…because I don’t know that I’m pregnant? Wait…” I held my breath, and acted like I was speaking to a doctor holding test results, “Am I pregnant?”
“If this old witch still has it, you are.”
Five days later, full shock and glee, I called her back. “I’m pregnant.”
I could hear her blow her cigarette smoke into the phone, before she offhandedly replied. “It’ll be a girl.”
I had a boy.
She scratched her head and said, “I guess it’ll be the next one.” Nearly three years later, she was wrong again. Almost three years after that, when I had my third and last child, she was so convinced it was a girl that she snapped, “What do you MEAN it’s a boy?! Well, I’m sorry!”
I certainly didn’t care, but my grandma was not one to be wrong. Ever. She didn’t take it well, but decided to love my boys, regardless. They each were a shining, joyful light in her life.
By her 90th birthday celebration, my grandmother still remained convinced that I would have a girl. Somewhat dramatically – knowing no other way! – she said I would be naming the child after her, implying her death was near.
In the Jewish religion, a name is passed down only after a loved one dies. My grandma had been housebound for the last decade with a variety of issues, but none of them life-threatening. As she stated over and over, her suitcases were packed and she was ready to kiss her old ass goodbye. We listened to this talk for years, but at the time, it seemed she might actually be getting closer to taking that trip.
I was over forty by then. Given my age, and the fact I had never become pregnant without assistance, I told her that she would have to rely on another grandkid for that girl. Besides, I insisted, she was an ox with special powers, and she wasn’t going anywhere.
Her response to that comment was a dirty look, but she conceded that maybe, in this one instance, her radar had been off. I don’t think she really believed that, she just no longer had the energy to argue. When I think about it now, I love that she remained truly convinced that she was right – such beautiful, dogged stubbornness.
Six months later, she died. I held on to her promise to haunt me, and she didn’t disappoint; showing up in many ways, most notably as a fly on my wall, something she had wished to be in her last housebound years.
I miss speaking with her, knowing I could just pick up the phone and hear her raspy voice. I know she hears me ‘out there,’ but I’d be much happier to have her hear me over here. I try not to think about it…
But this week, I was late. Yes, that kind of late. A solid, bloated, hormonal and crampy, full week late. I knew I couldn’t be. I counted days and considered; it was just not possible. Still, her loud and bossy voice was in my head – you will have a girl! Against all reason and sanity, I went and purchased a pregnancy test, cursing her under my breath.
I’ll spare you the suspense. I wasn’t pregnant. And two hours later, my friend ‘Dot’ arrived. I laughed at myself, and then breathed a deep sigh of relief.
As the year anniversary of her passing draws near, I love that she can still mess with me. And since I don’t plan on having another child, I’m definitely going to be just a bit more careful about ‘things’ in the future. My grandmother doesn’t like to be wrong. And I don’t trust that witch at all.
Alisa is a SAHM to three delicious boys. She loves reading, staying active, eating ice cream (sometimes up to twice a day!), and writing for her blog, Ice Scream Mama.