Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother


My Mom's Gift — The 'Spirit' of Laughter


It started with a light brush of my hair. Another time, it was a tickle across my hand. Then it was the feeling of fingertips against my cheek and later a light tap on the back of my arm. That last time had startled me. I had been nursing our baby alone in the dark.

Soon after the birth of our son, strange things started happening. I’d be holding our newborn and I’d feel my husband touch my shoulder and I’d turn to smile at him. Only, he wasn’t there.

About a half dozen times this happened. A clear, unmistakable sensation against my skin and then nothing — or, rather, no one — was there.

I didn’t find it troubling because whatever it was it was most certainly gentle.

It has been a few months since I experienced a random shoulder tapping and I’d forgotten about it until two weeks ago when, out of nowhere, our baby had a bizarre laughing fit. He is a baby who loves playing and giggling, but this time was different. 

A friend was over for a visit when he suddenly turned his head, stared down the hallway and started laughing hysterically at, well, nothing.

He would stop for a moment, keeping staring and then he’d bust a gut laughing again. This went on for about 10 minutes. Laugh, pause and laugh again. I couldn’t snap his attention away. Whatever was holding his interest was far too hilarious.

“OK, I am freaked out,” my friend said.

I tried to act like I wasn’t, but it was alarming and unexplainable.

Later that night, I told my husband about our son’s odd behavior.

“It was your mom,” he said, thoughtfully.

It’s a wonderful and heartwarming idea, if only we believed in supernatural forces. That, however, is a far stretch for us. We tend to believe in things that can be proven or disproven with science, but there was a small part of me that had wondered the same thing a few months back when I felt something touching my skin. 

Now watching our son enjoying the same belly aching laugh I used to share with my mom made me wonder if maybe, just maybe, she was sometimes still here with us.

My mom and I laughed together so hard our cheeks would hurt and tears would be streaming from our eyes. We would desperately try to catch our breath.

She passed away in 1997 and I know, without a doubt, she would’ve given anything to be able to be with me at this stage of my life navigating new motherhood and for the chance to spoil and love her only grandchild.

But, even though she can’t be, and even though for me science trumps otherworldly ideas, I am reminded of her everyday.

When I hear our sweet baby boy’s joyful and infectious laugh, without a doubt she's there. My mom. Exactly how I remember her.