Monday, September 27, 2010

Body Possession

I used to believe the paranormal was pure science fiction, the stuff of authors like Terry Pratchet and Laurell K. Hamilton or television shows such as Supernatural.  At least, I thought that until I had children.  It was then that I discovered that the paranormal ran deep within my family - especially my mother!

The first time it happened, my eldest was perhaps three or four.  We were at a department store rushing as usual to get what we needed and get out of there because the longer we stay the more Char spends.  Nathaniel had not napped and my patience level was nil.  Turning down an aisle some toy grabbed his attention and the pleading started in earnest.  A very quiet and gentle, “I’m sorry, honey, but not today” sent him into a teary fit.  It was at that moment it happened, right there in the middle of the toy section at Wal Mart, surrounded by strangers.  My mother possessed my body and screamed at my child, “Do you want a reason to cry?  I’ll give you a reason to cry!”

Wide-eyed shock froze me.  Did those words actually come out of my mouth?  I had vowed as I grew up never to utter them when I became a parent.  They were ridiculous words.  Obviously, I thought I had a reason to cry, which was why tears streamed down my adolescent face.  It was Mom – she made me say them.  It had to be her.

I have been a parent for twenty-two years now, and dear old Mom has left her body and controlled mine several times over.  Why just the other day, she used my vocal chords to scream at my child, “Because I’m bigger than you that’s why!”

Sometimes the statements she forces through my mouth are not the brightest of phrases.  I remember once, my middle boy was throwing a tantrum over something silly like wanting the jelly on top instead of the bottom. Now, of course, me being the patient, kind father who I am was merely going to flip the sandwich over.  But mother stopped what she was doing entered my body and screamed, “Why don’t you just grow up?”

Now, this elicited a bizarre look from my five year-old who merely replied, “Dad, I’m only five.  Growing up takes time.”

My dear mother has variances of that phrase such as:  “Stop acting like a baby,” “Stop being so childish,” and the ever popular, “Act your age instead of your shoe size” used on teen-agers or, in my mom’s case, forty-year olds.

I remember growing up never receiving a simple answer to a question.  My mom always waxed nostalgic on us and we received a twenty-minute story for every “Yes” and a thirty-minute tale for every “No.”  I hated it.  I mean, is it really my fault things cost more today?  Every time my dad would tell his “I could get into the movies for...” tale, he always seemed to be able to get more stuff.  By the time I was nineteen that nickel not only got him into the Saturday matinee with change left over for popcorn with extra butter, a jumbo fountain drink and a giant box of goobers but it also paid for the bus fare there and back and he still received change!

However, my mother was not satisfied with telling my sister and me her stories of nostalgia.  She insisted my children listen as well.  As they grew up, she would take over my body and force the opening line, “Boy, in my day...”  My children’s eyes would grow wide.  They knew what was coming.  They had learned to pick up on beginning phrases such as:  “I was never allowed,” “You kids have it easy” and the infamous “I remember when I was your age...”  With loud groans, they would shout, “Daddy, Grandmama is doing it again!”  They don’t care that when I was a child I couldn’t steal music from the comfort of my bedroom but had to actually go to the store to do it.

My mother also liked to start games in my house and at times would even take over my wife’s body.  It’s a demented game of tag which I and every other child in the world despises but, if rumors are true, is played in every household all over the world.

The game stared when one of the unsuspecting children would come to me with a simple question.  “Daddy, can I go over to Billy’s house?”  Before I could ask any important questions such as “Who is Billy?” or “When will you be home?”, my mother took over and started the game by replying, “Go ask your mother.”

By the time the poor child reached his mother, my mother was already there with a tart, “Go ask your father.”  Thus the game was underway as children were ping-ponged back and forth across the house.

Sometimes my mother had a sarcastic side to her, especially when patience levels are bottomed out.  For example, when one of the boys persisted in asking for something, my mother forced me to ask, “What part of ‘No’ do you not understand?”  At other times, she showed no sympathy.  “If you fall out of that tree, do not come crying to me.”

My kids were also supposed to keep track of how many times they had been told to do or not do something.  At least, I assume that is what was meant by the question I had asked under the influence of Mom’s possession, “How many times have I told you not to do that?”

The answer to that question was always the same.  “A lot.”   I sometimes wondered if mom did not take over my sons’ bodies and force them to give that answer.

Body possession.  The paranormal.  Once thought of as science fiction, now it is proven to be very real.  Trust me; I know.  My mom has the power and uses it to force me to say things I swore I would never say to my children.  She says her mother did it to her.  It makes me wonder if I will do it to mine as well.  I already believe my boys have the ability because they take over my body when no one else is around and force me to play with their little cars, making sound effects and all.

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