It's happened so many times now that even I have to admit it's odd. People often say to me or the husband or the grandparents or to whomever might be holding Cason, that he has very wise eyes. That he seems an old soul. I know it sounds corny. Really corny. But still. After hearing it over and over and over again from so many different and totally unconnected sources, it's become almost unsettling.
And today, another mom who doesn't know 'the story', came up to me, as I held Cason and we cheered on his big sister as she raced valiantly in the first swim meet of the summer, and said, "He looks grateful, it seems like he is so happy to be here.", (here meaning being alive, as opposed to being at a swim meet for hours on end).
Hearing it I wanted to give her the whole story but I didn't. I haven't been one to put much stock into the whole life after death thing. Although I think it was over at Niobe's, where the idea of a soul that is destined to be born might be transferred from one baby to another if the first baby doesn't make it. I like that idea. The notion of a spirit that lingers needing a body only as a vessel, a carrier, and that the spirit is capable of surviving even if the vessel does not.
Do I think Cason is carrying Caleb's spirit? Not really. I think Cason is his own person. I don't want him to be a part of Caleb. It diminishes both of them. It reminds me of watching my daughter mixing play dough colors. It always seems like a good idea and is fun to watch at first. Taking two brightly colored and beautiful pieces of clay and rolling them together, watching them as they begin to merge, each still independent but now winding together like a barber shop poll or a candy cane. Each color unique for a while and then before you know it, the colors start to blend, they lose their vibrancy and there is no going back. You can't separate the two and you have to mix them to make just one color, one that is not as pretty as the two were separately. You realize that the mixing wasn't such a good idea after all.
I don't want either boy of mine to lose his identity. They both deserve to be vibrant in their own way and for their own life's purpose. So I hesitate to put more meaning into the recurrent comments that Cason has wise eyes or an old soul. But it's hard not to want to believe that he knows, somewhere deep down, the whole story and that maybe, just maybe, he knows even more than I do.