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.