Beating Up the Answers to Life and Death

baking, chocolate chip cookies, the answers to life and deathThe day begins with anticipation, which makes me chuckle.

Gone is the time when I looked forward to a young man arriving at the doorstep for a date. Now, I’m anxious for the arrival of a 7-year-old boy and hours of Uno and giggles.

Sure enough, 90 minutes into my grandson’s visit, the score is Madre 540, genius boy 35.

The winner is the one with the lowest score.

This kid is killing me, particularly as he rubs his hands before each new game and says gleefully, “The cards just love me, Madre,” with a shrug and a wink.

Finally, tired of winning, he asks, “Can we bake cookies now?” With a sigh of relief, I dash to the kitchen. As I select the ingredients, he pulls over the kitchen chair and claims his rightful ownership to the beater.

I measure the sugar, soften the butter, and he begins to beat with measured concentration, tongue sticking out slightly, nodding his head silently when it’s okay to add the flour.

Whirrr, Whirrr, Whirrrr, the beater goes until suddenly, with no warning, young grandson stops the electric whisk, turns toward me as he stands on the chair, widens his eyes, and asks in a straightforward manner:

“Madre, when we die, do we come back to life again?”

I’m so shocked by the question that I pinch myself, not wanting him to see my surprise.

“Wellll,” I begin inanely. “Many people, over many many years, have asked that same question.”life and death, blooming from the dead

My grandson, normally a kid so active even his eyes twitch, stands stock still, staring at me, waiting for a real answer.

“And what do they say?” he wonders out loud.

I start blabbing about dead leaves turning into the earth to help new flowers bloom, blah blah blah, and he interrupts with a bit of impatience and informs me:

“I know I was alive 1,000 years ago.”

I continue pinching as I wait for a proper response to miraculously flow from my mouth.

Nothing comes forth.

But that’s okay, because grandson explains:

“I just decided to come back now. You know, seven years ago. It was the right time.”

Then he picks up the beater and whirs the batter back to life.

baking, licking the batterIn 12 minutes, a batch of freshly born, um, baked chocolate chip cookies cools on the cookie sheet.


108 thoughts on “Beating Up the Answers to Life and Death

  1. I have shivers reading this…who knows and what an amazing young chap. Depth of wisdom and then straight back to cookies – we should all learn to live so easily and mix the spiritual with the everyday!

  2. Could very well be the case! I have the same kinds of fun philosophical discussions with my kids. Your mermaid post is the kind of thing my kids and I would debate. The fact your grandson is so breezy and casual would make me want to talk to him more about it, like what kinds of things does he think he might have done 1,000 years ago? He should put it into a story! 🙂

    • Good idea, Kate. At the time I was rather flabbergasted and surprised. I also didn’t want to react in anyway to stop him from feeling free to relate his experience. Next time he brings it up I’ll be sure to encourage him to speak a bit more about his thoughts!

  3. Kids do say the darndest things, especially when you least expect it!! I am sure you will expand this conversation at another time. He sounds like quite a clever young man. So much fun to bake with grandkids. My parents loved playing Uno with my kids. Great memories!

    • My mom had a wonderful relationship with my kids, which occurred I think because of all the hours she played cards with them from early childhood throughout their now adulthood. In kind, I started with Go Fish when my grandkids were three and we’ve moved up to a Uno. Soon it will be Gin Rummy. And who knows what the conversation will turn to as we play our cards! 😏

  4. Wow! What a wonderful day and amazing experience. I’m glad you’ve recorded it–because I suspect your grandson won’t remember this conversation, but you will.
    Many years ago when I was a preschool teacher, my aide told me her daughter said one day, “Remember in another life, when I was the mommy and you were the little girl?”
    And my younger daughter said to me once when she was a toddler, “Remember when I was in your belly and I hiccuped and that made you laugh?”
    Your grandson looks like he had a great day! 🙂

  5. I love how matter of fact he is about having lived 1000 years ago and that he decided to come back seven years ago. I wonder what made him decide it was the right time – to be in your life, maybe?

  6. I love the open-minded and free-spirited thoughts of children. I fell as though I have learned more from my son as he has continued to mature and grow over the years than potentially any other source. It’s ironic how as parents we are asked to “teach” our children the principles and values of a meaningful life when the information tends to sometimes more easily flow in the opposite direction 🙂

    • What you say is exactly why I love the Crosby Stills Nash and Young song that begins ‘Teach… Your children well’ but then in the next verse suggests: ‘Teach… Your parents well.’ I really agree with you Dave. I feel that I have learned so much more from my children (and now grandchildren ) than they have from me.

  7. Children are so honest and enlightened, I just love it. What a darling grandson Pam, you really have some special grandchildren. I’m glad you are writing it all down because I wish I had.

  8. Genius boy! Thank you for sparking a memory here.

    At the Hands-On Children’s Museum, I played chess with grandson Curtis when he was about 6 or 7. He played and won, and I stumbled around with jagged moves. He was so bored with me, he simultaneously played a game of checkers with the girl at the next table.

    The only time I remember he thought I was smarter than he was when he was three and asked, “Why couldn’t all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put Humpty Dumpty back together again?” When I told me “Because he was an egg,” he exclaimed, “You’re so smart, Nana!” Now at age 12 he is constructing his own computer from parts he’s bought with allowance money.

    What a wealth of memories you are recording here while the details are still fresh. Brava, Pamela!

    • You have a genius grandson… The scene of him playing chess with you on one side and checkers with another girl on the other side will forever stay in my mind! Sounds like I may be reading about him sometime in the not too distant future about a young person helping change the world for better. XO

  9. I love that he trusted you to ask such a big question. And, I love that he felt safe enough to share his thoughts. He may have just wanted someone to hear him. I believe him. Many young children remember they’ve been here, but as they age they begin to forget. If you are interested, you may want to check out “Soul Survivor” by Bruce and Andrea Leininger about their son’s memories. There is a documentary out there about the family — you could probably find it on YouTube. It makes you wonder.

    • I just went over to check out Soul Survivor, and then remembered their story (the parents may have been on 60 Minutes?). A compelling story, and one I don’t find unbelievable. As you say, so much we don’t understand; “wonder” is an intelligent emotion that makes us open our minds a bit more, perhaps the way our minds were when we were children.

  10. Wow wow wow, Pam. I love that. Who knows? That’s why it’s so hard to answer those questions, because really…who knows? The blah blah blah was the perfect reply because it didn’t shut down his own innate knowledge (or wisdom or experience, or cosmic connection, or imagination – whatever). I think adults tend to negate children’s acute openness to the world (to ghosts, angels, past lives, magic, etc.) because we think we have to have the answers and know everything. Sounds like you have a great time together 🙂

    • You got my ‘blah blah blah’ perfectly, Dianne. Yes, I realized I needed to stop and just listen, so that I didn’t stop my grandson from feeing safe about expressing his thoughts out loud. Listening to my youngest grandchildren brings back to me some of my earlier mystical thoughts and feelings about …everything, which all got stamped out as got older and was told what ‘really’ was, and what wasn’t. My guess is that you’re able to go back to your childhood feelings also; otherwise, how else could you come up with such great ‘fantasy’ in your novels?

  11. What a remarkable experience! Thanks so much for sharing this. This gives me six years to prepare for deep philosophical questions from my own grandson. I’d better brush up!

    • Ha ha. One thing I’ve learned now that I’m up to SIX grandkids (I know, I know, I can’t possibly – that’s what I say all the time) 🙂 — anyway, one thing I’ve learned is no preparation is possible. You wing it each day with a grandchild, because each one surprises you and knocks you for a loop, in all good ways. Good luck!

    • I’m grateful that you read my posts and appreciate them. Yes, over generations it’s been said that we can learn so much from children. When we’re raising them, we’re too busy…raising them. But as grandparents now, we can stop and listen and learn more easily. And boy, am I learning!!

  12. We live in a finite existence, but recognize that there is infinity and the possibilities of different alternatives. We do not all, and I rather enjoy knowing that we have more to learn. A great post.

    • Different alternatives are what the kids are more likely to see and understand. I’m hoping to have another conversation with this grandson soon. I find that we need to be in the middle of some activity for him to loosen up and then open up with some interesting perspectives.

    • Thanks, Amy. I’m trying to keep up with this grandson’s always-running thoughts and opinions. At 7 – he has many. Will be fascinating to see what those thoughts are like when he’s, say, 14!!

  13. Awesome share ~> His to You and You to Us!

    Born in Delhi, India, in 1926, Shanti Devi claimed at a young age to have memories of her previous life. Among other things, she recalled:

    * Her name ~ Lugdi Devi
    * Her husband’s name ~ Kedar Nath
    * Her village ~ Mathura
    * Her death ~ 10 days after giving birth to a child

    At four years of age, Shanti Devi told her parents that she didn’t belong with them . . . that her husband and son lived in Mathura. When questioned, she described the house she had lived in, its furnishings, and even where she had buried some money. When her past life husband arrived, unannounced, she recognized him. She also recognized other members of her previous extended family.

    To read more, including an interesting thread of comments:

    • Excellent example of ‘proven’ reincarnation. Another reader sent me to the documentary Soul Survivor which you may have seen or read. An excellent contemporary example of, it seems, proven reincarnation. I love the fact that so many of this post’s readers are open-minded to let the possibilities flow through. That’s all I do, also. Since we don’t have any ‘easy answer,’ we can use our intuition and open-mindedness to see what sticks within our own consciousness. Of course, some people don’t believe in intuition. Me? I live by it… xo

  14. I watched a programme this week ( The Ghost inside My Child) about 2 children who claim to have lived before. It was quite fascinating and even fairly convincing especially when the facts check out.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • That’s a rather scary title though, David: The Ghost Inside My Child. Yikes – makes me think of The Exorcist (which of course I never watched because it would scare me too much). Sometimes our children/ grandchildren seem to have too much of the devil inside them (just joking — 🙂

  15. I am so excited to hear of your very intelligent grandson and deeply moved by his matter of fact approach. I think that you did the best in this circumstance, pinching so a serious answer transpired.
    My grandson, Micah (7 years old too!), came up to my Mom’s over the Labor Day weekend. At breakfast he talked to this retired geography and nature loving resident. The man, George, dug through his bag on his walker and gave him a photo from the internet of two Russian moose. Micah was showing him things he caught on Pokemon Go on my phone, but also talking about the beach, shells, and seagulls.
    When he came back to sit down at our table he said, “I learn so much from George!” A lady named Lillian, dug through her stuff and gave him one dollar bill. I held my breath, hoping he would be nice, since some young kids don’t think much of a dollar. He replied with such an “old soul” comment, maybe he is reincarnated: “I will spend it wisely. Thank you.” Lillian then pulled another dollar out and he hugged her nicely. She was impressed but not sure where this thought came from? Our little men in our lives are such wonderful and wise sources, Pam.

    • “I will spend it wisely, thank you.” That’s classic! And classy and yes, very ‘old school.’ Your grandson sounds like a marvelous young being. He will teach you much throughout your life, is my guess, just as my grandkids do. Isn’t it an amazing gift?

  16. Beautiful writing here! Coincidentally, I watched the movie, Miracles from Heaven, last night with my 9 year old son. Based on a true story, it deals with the question– what happens when we die? If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I wonder what your 9-year-old thought of the movie? I’m finding that my grandkids 7 and under are quite open to ‘alternative’ universal thoughts. Once they reach 8 or older, they’re pulled into the reality they’re told to believe. I certainly remember the pull myself, when a child, to stay with what seemed sure in my own little child’s mind, as opposed to what I was told I could and couldn’t believe in, according to the adults around me.

      • That’s so true. As I am generally overprotective when it comes to movies, I cringed with the harshness of some of the circumstances portrayed, but in the end, since it was based on a true story with a happy ending, found it to be unforgettable. My 9-year-old sat intrigued throughout.

    • You state here exactly what I think, Roy, and exactly what I remember as a child. I knew what I knew when I was young, and it was totally different than what my parents and other adults told me I was supposed to know (re spiritual, universal truths). I think we remember ‘what we knew’ in our dreams now, and for me, sometimes when I write.

    • I’m glad this post brought on the smiles and the good memories. My mom isn’t a baker, so she never did that with my kids as they were growing up. BUT they played hours…and hours… of cards, and that’s why and how she became so close to them all their childhood into adulthood lives. So, I’m hoping to follow her footsteps (adding the baking part too). 🙂
      P.S. My mom has dementia now and has a difficult time with memories and even talking a lot. BUT, when her grandkids (my adult kids) come and visit her, they whip out a deck of cards, and she can still beat them. Isn’t that amazingly cool?

      • That is awesome that she can still connect via the cards and have fun that way! Thanks for sharing about the update on your mom and I feel the family love as I read your response to me. Hugs

  17. Wonderful. I hope he can tell you more about his experiences before he forgets. Did you read Wayne Dyer’s book, “Memories of Heaven”? I haven’t yet but I think it would be fascinating.

    • I haven’t read Dwyer’s book yet, but I have read several like it over the years. I’m a believer in that I think if we have an open mind, we’ll learn there’s so much we don’t know or understand. And I like to think that my open mind is why my grandson is able to, at times, just open up with amazing pronouncements!! xo

      • I agree. There is much we don’t know and don’t understand. It’s difficult to be definitive about some of it. I’m sure your open mind is an encouragement to your grandson too! 🙂

  18. Kids ask incredible questions, don’t they? Where do we come from? Why are we here? Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why are there kids with no parents and can’t go to school? (That was one of my questions) *sigh* And we have to come up with a plausible answer because kids are smart! They understand much more than we give them credit for AND if we lie, they will remember….. Your little guy sounds very intelligent. I’m sure you are glad he chose that particular time to come back, eh? 😉 ❤

    • I’m SO glad to be here to watch this new set of beings explore our world, ask questions, probe into what is and what isn’t. Our grandkids may ask the questions, but in reality, they may have some of the answers for us “grown-ups” if we just listen to them… BEFORE they get to a certain age before they “know better.” xo

  19. Love this post. At least he doesn’t inform you that playing with you isn’t challenging enough like my 10 year old granddaughter did! I got her back. One of my great-grandsons is a little older and as lucky at cards as she is, so I got him to play her. That was fun to watch. They are both smart and amazingly lucky, but he did end up the overall winner, so she hasn’t been quite so haughty about playing cards with me since then. 🙂

    • Not only did you figure out how to ‘play’ your smart grand (and great grand) kids, you had fun doing it! 🙂 I think I better start practicing my card playing, because soon we’ll be graduating from Uno to Gin Rummy. And from Checkers to Chess. Yikes! :-0

  20. Loved this Pam – gave me shivers! I love that fearless, playful curiosity that also knows words of profound wisdom are best digested and gournded with a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I beat my Dad, twice, at backgammon last night (he’s here visiting) but he claims I cheated because I spoke to the dice and asked them for doubles:-) Love and humble hugs, Harula xxx

  21. You never know… Yesterday my daughter told me her daughter suddenly started talking in sentences after only uttering single words for a few months. Your story makes me wonder what sorts of things she and I will be talking about in the near future. 🙂 Grandparents are the best people to share these thoughts with – I felt my grandparents understood my spiritual yearnings better than my parents ever did…

    • Barbara, I assure you, you have hours of astounding, illuminating, fascinating, and fun conversations ahead of you with your granddaughter. You can never be prepared …but you can look forward to being a special person in her life who will listen (and therefore, who is safe for her to talk with). xo

  22. Pingback: A Kiss of Peace even after Death Do Us Part – Shades of Grey

  23. Haha…you never know, you just never know!!! Wonderful confidence!! 😀 Makes me think of ‘Highlander’ although that was more a case of living forever, if I remember that movie right?

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