I don't really believe in ghosts. Which is not to say I'm not completely fascinated by people who do. A solid ghost story commands my full attention every time. You saw your Great-Aunt standing at the foot of your bed the night she died? I wanna know what she was wearing. The lights flickered right when you put on your grandmother's necklace for the first time? I wanna know where that necklace is right now. But, you won't hear me sharing tales from the underworld. Once I thought my apartment on 93rd street was haunted, but in retrospect mice were probably living in the radiator. I don't hold my breath when I drive by a cemetery. When my son asked me if there was a heaven, I did the old "question the question" technique and replied with, "What do you think?"
My easy dismissal of ghosts as reality however, is coupled with my heartfelt and total belief in imaginary friends.
When I was little, my brother had an imaginary dog (Brandon, from Punky Brewster) for a solid year. We set out water for him every morning. My brother was so invested in Brandon, that if he didn't think you could see him - he would lick you and blame it on the invisible doggie.
My first son, had a roundtable of imaginary friends. No one consistent, but consistently someone. The details he could conjure up when I'd question him about his friends, rivaled the specificity of Chekhov. He had one friend, Max, who only appeared when we rode the city bus. He would sit in the seat next to my son. Once an elderly lady, sat down on Max, and my child cried for 30 blocks and then announced that Max was dead. Max never rode the bus with us again.
In my experience with imaginary friends, never has one collided with the ghost world.
Until now. My little son has developed a relationship with a blue lady he sees in our home. He's seen her in our hallway, the garage, the upstairs bedroom. He told me the other day that sometimes he thinks she is me - but then he realizes it's just the blue lady. She is all blue. Including her hair. She wears a blue dress too. According to my son, she's "really nice and likes to be in our house." He sees her and follows her. Just now, I lay him down to nap. Not two minutes later he called me in his room to tell me the blue lady just stopped by to fly a little bit around his room and show him some beautiful leaves and an amazing helicopter.
THAT'S A GHOST, RIGHT?!?
I am much more comfortable with traditional imaginary friends. This floating blue lady is freaking me the f*&% out. Is my son gonna end up on one of those "I talk to ghosts" shows on the Discovery Channel? As I said, I don't really believe in ghosts. But you'll notice the "really" leaves room for moments like RIGHT NOW.
Pause while Sandy takes a breath.
I just did some imaginary friend research. I still don't know if it's a ghost or not. BUT, I did learn that a shrink at Yale (Yale professor emeritus of psychology Jerome Singer with research scientist Dorothy Singer) think that "children with make-believe friends tend to be imaginative, have rich vocabularies, and are able to entertain themselves. " I'm going with that. If I have to choose between a ghost stalking my baby or believing that he is extra specially creative ... I'm going with the uber creative choice. Hands down.
Ill-Defined Sound Cue Here.
Shit. What was that?