My Little Old Soul

Old SoulMarilla – age six


I’m trying valiantly to pull out of a foul mood.  How did I get sucked into this morass?

Well, I’ve been reading too many horrific news items, something I usually try not to do.  I’ve been grieving the loss of my father more than usual, and I’ve been frustrated with writer’s block.  I even started crying this morning when my sweet Lucy pup peed all over Avonlea’s backpack instead of on her pee pad sitting directly next to it.

Oh well.

Just now I took my sorry self outside to our patio.  Lucy is out here with me sniffing some bushes and steering clear of the chicken coop.  The air is the perfect temperature: not too cool and not too warm, and it’s sunny.  Getting outdoors was a wise move, and I’m starting to feel my gloom shift.  My crabbiness dissipates a little more as I hold nine-week-old fluffbug Lucy for this photo:

lucy babe

After I ran into my bedroom crying over the puppy pee incident, I felt horrible.  I knew I was overreacting.  The botched potty training merely served as a catalyst to unload the sadness I’ve felt the past week over my Dad, over the Carol Coronado tragedy, over the Santa Barbara shootings and other atrocities.

My six-year-old daughter Marilla, disturbed to see me sob,  followed me into my room and she wrapped her arms around me.

“Don’t worry Mom.  You’ll always have me.” she said as she sprinkled my face with kisses.  My moody “‘tude” was melted by her affection and empathy.  Ever since she could talk, Marilla has been compassionate and wise beyond her years.  In 2013 when  I suffered one of the worst bipolar depressions of my life, Marilla told me,  “Mommy, I’d like to give you a talk!”  I had no idea what she meant, but I nodded yes.

She took me to her bunk bed, and told me how much she loved me.  She added, “I’m sorry about your father.”  I couldn’t even speak and I just sat there immobilized with tears rolling down my face.  

I know how this may sound – that I was being co-dependent with my little girl, and that it was unhealthy and unfair for me to place that burden upon her.  In self-defense, I was so hopeless and over-medicated that I couldn’t help but say yes to such a loving gesture.  

I’m still uncertain if our talks were “wrong” in the eyes of psychological professionals.  With Marilla I repeated a behavior I created during my childhood, except the roles were reversed.  When my Dad was deeply depressed due to bipolar disorder, I tried my best to cheer him up with loving words, reassurance that he’d get better, and affection.  I didn’t have as much empathy and knowing as Marilla, but I attempted to lift his mood because I loved him so much and I couldn’t stand to see him suffer.  

Lifting my Dad’s spirits made me feel valued, and while no parent wants their child to derive their self-worth in such a way, I have no regrets about what happened.  I don’t feel scarred by the role I took on with my father, and hopefully Marilla won’t be adversely affected by our conversations either.  She only gave me two or three of of these special talks, but I’ll never forget them.  

After what happened when I was depressed and during other times, I’ve become convinced that Rilla possesses an old soul.  A comprehensive definition of the term “old soul” is:

A spiritual person who is wise beyond her years; people of strong emotional stability…someone who has more understanding of the world around her.  Some people even believe an old soul is a person whom has learned from past incarnations, or lives. They acquired certain knowledge from their past lives and apply it to their present life…”

While I believe in mediums and the Afterlife, I’m still not sure about reincarnation.  I don’t know who Marilla takes after personality-wise from both of our families.  I’ve never given it much thought if Marilla is channeling one of our relatives, although I would find it to be fascinating if she was.  

What matters most is that I have a child who expresses compassion and love in an amazing, profound way.  Now that I’m stable, I’ll never expect Marilla to take on the responsibility for improving my mood.  We all know that’s my job.  

I had no idea I’d be writing about Marilla today, but now that I have, I feel much better.  Puppy pee on backpacks?  What puppy pee? ?  That’s now in the distant past.  My heart is focusing on the present, as I realize that being the mom of a little old soul is one of the most beautiful gifts I’ve been given in this lifetime.  


18 thoughts on “My Little Old Soul

  1. This is one of the most true, from the heart post I have ever read in my life. I just realized that I had tears in my eyes that made it hard for me to read. Your emotions were pouring out from your heart to mine. I always feel the same about old soul. In fact I do believe that God has made some old souls for people like us. Marilla is one of God’s wonderful human who embodies the love that God has for his beings. All my love to her on being such an amazing human and of course a great daughter. You know what makes great daughters like Marilla- great moms like Dyane
    A very warm hug and light from my soul to yours

    • Zeph, this comment of yours meant to much to me that I sent it to my husband, who never reads this blog! 😉 (That’s probably a good thing…ha ha ha) Still, that man absolutely adores his daughters, and I’m fine with him reading this post more than any of the other ones I’ve written. The fact that my writing moved you the way it did is what every writer wishes for, and that NEVER gets old! Most of the time Rilla is your average super-energetic, fun-loving (and I need to be honest: difficult!) six-year-old, but when the old soul thing takes over, it gives me the goose bumps. You and I have lots of things in common including believing in the old soul theory – just another reason that makes you the awesome Zeph that you are! Tons of love to you, dear one – I am grateful for you. xoxooxoxoxxoxoxo

      • I love your kind words. I soak ’em up like a ginormous sponge. Stalk away – I feel honored that you do! I wish I could go back and improve every single post, because when I wait one or two days after writing them I ALWAYS find boo boos and ways to make my message better, but I don’t do it since there are so many other things to do. But if the basic message gets across I should be happy, right? 😉 I know that you’d say yes, of wise Zephster. Lots of love to you today and every day!

  2. It’s always funny to me how such silly, small things (well, a “normal” person would call them that, we know better) can send you off into left field, but the hug of your child makes it all seem so senseless and tends to add just a bit of grounding. You’re very lucky to have your compassionate old-soul around. My girls (12 and 5) do wonders for me, and a lot of times I don’t even think they know it. A well timed hug, running at you as you come in the door telling you how much they missed you today, asking to go do some of your favorite things together. It all makes such a difference and all so from the heart for them.

    • Awww – I am so glad you have your loving girls, Rob! You sound like a fantastic father who “gets it”! One hug can make such a HUGE difference in so many ways. I know I’m lucky to have Rilla, although I replied in a comment to the awesome blogger Tony that today she had a stellar temper tantrum. I wondered where my loving old soul had gone! 😉

      Such is life. And I know first and foremost she’s 6, not 60…and sometimes 6 year-olds are going to flip out about ridiculous matters such as brushing one’s bedhead hair so they look like their parents take care of them!!

      I am grateful for all the good moments in between the blips. The hugs, the appreciative words, the love… all of that, as you know so well, is truly precious.

    • Thank you sweet Doreen! Sorry I haven’t been commenting on your awesome blog lately – I read EVERY post religiously, and I always “like” them, but I get lazy with the comments, esp. since I’m usually reading blogs on my Kindle on my elliptical machine. I wish I had a high-tech machine where I could speak my comments and they automatically are plugging into your blog comment section, ha ha! Anyway, I’m thinking of you and hope you are feeling good. I love your blog so much and I’m thankful that I found it….I just wish I found it a LOT sooner! 😉

  3. Forgive me, but I could not suppress laughing when you wrote about Lucy peeing on the backpack. Too funny. I know you were at your wits end and the mishap sent you over the edge. You needed a good cry and some loving from Lucy. She does, by the way, look contrite.

    What a wonderful, compassionate daughter you have. Interesting how different children can be temperamentally. My son reacts poorly to my mood swings, so I have to be careful what I reveal.

    As far as the tragic result of Carol Coronado postpartum psychotic break and Elliot Rodger’s killing rampage in Isla Vista, I must put into carefully thought-out words my reaction, my opinion. We need both more stringent gun control and more effective mental health intervention, dare I say, at times involuntary intervention. I know what it is to think unthinkable thoughts and feel unacceptable urges. I sought and received help. Not everyone has that ability or that motivation. Not everyone has the resources. Some are too far gone, and are unable to distance themselves from the symptoms of their illness.

    • I will gladly forgive you, Kitt, for any and all giggles when it comes to puppy pee on a tattered Disney Princesses backpack! It was nice to read that, actually – and I would have done the same thing with anyone else’s post. I am sorry that your son has challenges in reacting to your mood swings. You are a wonderful mother to note his reactions and act accordingly! As far as the tragedies go, when I spoke to my Mom about what happened in Isla Vista, the first thing she said was that we needed better gun control. I agreed with her! You and I both know how important it is to have solid mental health intervention, and how there is enormous room for improvement in that area. You wrote about these concerns and more so eloquently above – I get blocked when trying to write intelligently about mental health crisis and possible solutions. I wish I could write as you do!

  4. You raise some challenging psychological and spiritual questions here. We are left to ponder mysteries about what is healthy and holy. But you go on to zoom in on the essential truth — “What matters most is that I have a child who expresses compassion and love in an amazing, profound way.” You are certainly blessed!

    • Dear Tony, first of all, I love your blog and your insights. I thank Kitt O’Malley for leading me to your blog. This is a lovely comment and I particularly love the phrase “zoom in on the essential truth”! Yes, I am blessed. Although I must tell you that she had a ginormous tempter tantrum this morning about not wanting me to brush her hair, and it made me wonder where the compassion was!! ;)))) take good care, Tony! I look forward to reading your next post!

  5. Wonderful post. This may sound off the wall, but I remember when I was about five years old, imagining what I’d like to be in my NEXT life! And I wanted to be a squirrel, because squirrels always looked like they were having so much fun chasing each other around in the trees.

    So, that’s my argument for reincarnation. I think I believe in it. 😉

    • I love this comment, you little squirrely wirrel! That’s a great story, though about when you were five. We have lots of them here in the redwoods and they do look like they are having lots of fun. And thanks for reading my post today – I read your blog yesterday and I know you have TONS going on today and I’m so excited for you! Good luck with the DBT crew tonight – I hope you let your fans know how that rolls!!!!!

    • I love this comment, you little squirrely wirrel! That’s a great story, though, about when you were five. And thanks for reading my post today – I read your blog yesterday and I know you have TONS going on today and I’m so excited for you! Have a fantastic DBT gathering tonight!

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