It was so odd to look around and see all of the people whose voices she had only heard before. There was Mummy's voice of course, the sweetest in the universe. And now she could not only hear that beloved voice, but also look up into her beautiful blue eyes. So often those precious eyes were filled with tears of joy. They had told her that it would be this way. They had told her that she would bring great happiness to her dear Mummy after she had experienced so much sadness.
Before Maisie had descended to her Mummy, she had lived for a time in the beautiful celestial world with Meg and Owen. They were her Mummy's parents and spent their days looking down upon Mummy and her Auntie Trelawney. They were often sad. Maisie did not know why. She was not permitted that vision. She could not look down from heaven and see the mortal world below. It was not allowed.
She remembered the day that they had come to her world. They were quite bereft and Maisie had been sent to them to give them hope. The angels had told her to go to them and help to bring them the peace of God's love. She was to be their grandchild. That had always been her destiny. If tragedy had not disrupted their fates, then she would have known them on earth. But she would know them now.
Then there came a time when they were especially sad. She did not know why, but Meg's tears never stopped. It was so wrong. How could anyone be so sad in this beautiful and peaceful place? But then one day the tears stopped. They told her that an angel had been sent to guard over her little one. All would be well. The little one would now be safe.
She had lived many lives, known many people, and learned many things. And now she was to make her final journey at the appointed time. She knew that much work awaited her in the world below. She was to be a child of light, just like her Mummy and her Auntie. It was her fate and destiny to bring light to a dark world, peace to a troubled world, and happiness to those who were sad.
When it was time to say goodbye to them, they begged her to love her Mummy and her Auntie Trelawney. They really didn't need to ask her. More than her duty, she was looking forward to both loving them and receiving their love. She only knew how to love. Thus she went to the warm, dark place near her Mummy's heart where she would safely grow from a mere spark of life to a baby, an infant without speech.
It was all rather delightful fun. When she was large enough, she could kick back at those who laid their hands on her mother's belly. Her Daddy would touch her every time he entered the room. It was a wonderful caring touch. It was a touch that said, "I love you," more powerfully than any words. The children touched her also. It was nice. Her sister Prudence always said hello when she came in.
She recalled the first time when Papa Tom had laid a hand on Mummy's stomach after he volunteered to be her grandfather. For some reason, she kicked him very hard. It was the first time that she had ever kicked that hard. She didn't know why, but she knew him. It must have been in another life. But then when Mum walked over to Daddy, she kicked hard again. She didn't want Daddy to feel left out.
She knew that Papa Tom was Helen's father. She saw Helen sometimes in heaven. She was the Mum of her brothers and sister. She loved them very much and watched over them. She was happy when they were happy, and she was sad when they were sad. She was a very sweet lady who had suffered much in her previous life. She had suffered so much that she was permitted to stay in heaven. There would be no more earthly lives for her.
The kind and gentle lady was pleased when Daddy married Mummy. Now her children would have a mother again. She was very sad when her own mother refused to accept Mummy. It drove her apart from the children. But Auntie Trelawney made things right. She knew how to do such things. She could never bear to see anyone unhappy. Helen was very glad that she was with her family. She could make them happy again.
Her new brothers and sister were an interesting lot. Hal was her hero. He loved to sit and talk to Mummy. They talked about so many things. She was quite proud of him. He might not be a child of light, but he almost was. He was kind and thoughtful, and so helpful. He held her securely in his big strong arms. She trusted him. She knew that until he left home that he would always keep her safe.
She felt bad for her big sister Prudence. She was sorry that she had to be a baby for so long before she would be big enough to play with her. But sometimes Prudence scared her. She tried to hold her, but she was always afraid that she would drop her. But she had no words to tell her that. She could only cry and then Prudence would get upset.
Maisie knew her brother Butch the least of all. Poor lad. He was right. Nobody did understand him. It was not his fault that he did not like to watch her nurse. He was just a little boy. And she wished that Daddy would let him be a baseball star. Whenever Mummy and Daddy talked about him, she wanted to say her piece too. But she couldn't. She had no words.
But Auntie Trelawney was the most special. She was a most powerful child of light. She could speak to her through her mind. She told her the loveliest stories. She read books to her and played the piano for her. She knew that her Mummy loved Auntie Trelawney more than anyone. But she would never tell Daddy this. He could not understand. It was not allowed.
Auntie Trelawney was a beautiful, simple soul. She had also lived many lives and was on her final journey home. No one understood Auntie Trelawney, not even her Mummy. It was only Prudence who had an inkling. It would be Maisie's own job to help others understand her. That was a part of her destiny. Auntie Trelawney had been sent first. But she couldn't do it alone. And so she, Maisie, had been sent.
All souls live many lives. Throughout these human lives they try to perfect themselves by living as Jesus did. Jesus was the ultimate perfected soul, so to speak. But He really wasn't a soul. He was God. It was a great mystery to the humans on earth. Even the children of light did not understand. It did not matter. He had been sent to show them the way to live. He was entirely good. No humans could be like Him, but their souls could try. Sadly, not all humans were strong enough to. His life had been very hard.
The weaker humans fell prey to the dark forces. Their souls were not strong enough to resist. The dark forces seduced them and they lost their way. It was sad for the other humans. They created so much mischief. Sometimes many people were hurt, sometimes only a few. It was difficult for humans to be strong all the time. The strongest humans were those who had faith in God.
But God also helped the humans by sending them the guardian angels and the children of light. In emergency circumstances, an angel could be sent to work through a strong, good human. Humans did not walk the earth alone. But they thought that they did. They thought that they were all powerful. They did not understand their place in the cosmos. It was a great pity. Because of their arrogance they brought so much suffering to themselves.
And there were souls that never learned. Generation after generation, and century after century, they were given the opportunity to become better. But they refused. The shortest Bible verse of all said it quite clearly.
He knew that the evil would be difficult to conquer. It was really too bad that most humans were so blind and deaf to the world around them. They could not see the glowing auras of those they met. They could not hear the music of the spheres or the voices of their animal companions. They did not even know what they were missing. And, poor humans, they could only know what they could see and hear.
Unless they had faith.
"Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe."
One of the great secrets of their race was that while their souls were between mortal lives, they knew of the past lives that they had lived. They knew their fate and their purpose in their next life. They had all the wisdom of their past lives. They understood all those around them. This knowledge and wisdom would always be a part of them, but when they were no longer infants, it would escape their human consciousness.
The root of the word "infant" was the Latin word infans, or "without speech." As they acquired the ability to speak and express themselves verbally, they lost this self-awareness until they once again returned to the other side. So Maisie knew that one day, this knowledge would slip away from her. Once she said her first word, she would be like any other baby learning to talk.
But their race was also different because they had the ability to access the universal consciousness. It gave them a second sight. They understood the minds and ways of other humans. These humans tried to understand by calling it ESP. They even thought that they could learn it. But it could not be learned. It could only be known.
One such as Auntie Trelawney, never fully lost contact with the other side, which was why she knew so many things. But she also lacked the ability to fully control herself. She would speak without thinking. There were many other things that she didn't understand. And she lacked the ability to defend herself. She was so sensitive to the emotions of others that she hurt when they did. And they had the ability to frighten her with their powerful feelings of anger and hate.
The dark forces had damaged Auntie Trelawney. She was too good for them. But they could not conquer her. They could only hope that by injuring her mind and spirit they could weaken her power to fight against them. Thus, Auntie Trelawney was more fragile than most like her. She had been saved by those who loved her. Some of them were not of their people. But Maisie knew that she must be there to help her when the time came.
She knew that it was odd that her father was an outsider. But she also knew that her parents had known each other and loved in a past lifetime. Because of this, their relationship was not so strange as it might have been. They had even created a child together. It was the soul of Auntie Trelawney who had inhabited that child. But it had been a dark time in human history. The child had not survived childhood after she lost both of her parents. It was a sad story told over and over throughout humankind.
Auntie Trelawney had not known in this lifetime that she wanted so desperately for them to marry again because she wanted to know that love again. Her restless soul had yearned for this through several lifetimes, but the odds had always been against one of their own meeting the same outsider she had known generations ago. But fate had brought her parents together so that Maisie might enter this world.
She had enjoyed the little meeting with Auntie's angel. She liked him because he loved them all so much. She had even had a little fun with him. She had demanded her Mummy's breast and then nestled close to her. She had shut down her mind to him. It had made him a bit confused. It was a lovely little trick on him.
She was very glad for him though. He took care of poor Auntie Trelawney so that she could stay with her and her Mummy. Mummy needed her and even Daddy realized that now. He needed her too. He had a special love for her but he did not know why. He would never know why. It was not allowed. So it was all very good. She knew that soon her Grammy would let go of her and Auntie Trelawney would return home. That was where she belonged.
She had loved her Grammy since the moment that she entered this world. She knew that she had cared for her Mummy, as well as Auntie Trelawney, while they waited for her to come. She had always known her Grammy's voice, just like Daddy and Auntie Trelawney's. It was a most special voice. It made her feel safe.
But Maisie knew that her days of knowledge of all her lives would soon come to a close. Then she would have to wait until she could speak to talk to Auntie Trelawney again. She knew that she would not even remember these days until she returned to the other side. Perhaps Auntie Trelawney would. But even if she did, she would never tell or even think it in her presence. It was not allowed.
Hal Everett was relieved when his parents returned from their short vacation on several counts. The first was that despite the fact that she never complained, Phoebe had missed her sister dreadfully. Intuitively, he sensed that the same was true of Maisie. His infant daughter already seemed inclined toward the Figalilly intuitions and sensibilities of the world around her. There were times when she was looking at him that he would swear that she knew what he was thinking.
He also missed that advice that his parents were always ready to give. His father always waited to be asked, but his mother frequently just offered it unsolicited. He hated to admit it, but her motherly concerns and occasional interferences were, for the most part, useful. And even when they didn't give advice, they provided a useful sounding board.
He himself missed Trelawney. Not only did she keep Phoebe happy, but Prudence as well. She not only entertained Prudence by playing with her, she also explained things to her in a way that she could understand. Even if no one else could. She also provided him with moral support. Unlike his own children, she never judged him or purposely gave him a hard time. He had not always appreciated her, but she loved him all the same. Hers was an unconditional love. It was a rare gift.
He was also looking forward to returning the dog Elspeth back over to her custody. Elspeth had been very upset when she was left behind. In the beginning she had refused to eat and had sulked, even when Phoebe tried to coax her out of her bad mood. Her primary purpose in life was to care for Trelawney and without her she seemed lost.
Once she got over the initial phase of her disappointment, she attached herself to Maisie and wherever the baby was, she was. She slept by the cradle at night and followed Phoebe and her around the house during the day. On the rare occasions that they took the baby out, she would park herself at the front door as they were leaving.
When they returned home, she was seated in the same spot, ready to assume her duties once again. After a while it was a little creepy, to always have the dog present and underfoot. She was no ordinary dog. Even Waldo could sense that. He never tried to distract her from her duties or play with her. He had overheard Sylvia tell Emmeline that the dog was a nosy little eavesdropper and an excellent tattletale. It gave him the feeling that he was living with a spy in the house.
It had been a great relief when Phoebe had packed Maisie up in the baby carriage and walked up to his parents' house when they returned. The dog, needless to say, happily trailed along behind them. However, he knew that once Trelawney returned, Elspeth would come with her. He sighed. Hopefully once she had Trelawney to focus on again, she would leave them alone.
After they left, naturally Prudence wanted to go as well. But Hal decided that Phoebe needed to be alone with Trelawney and that his parents to spend some uninterrupted time with Maisie before the rest of them came up. His son Hal could be trusted to be discreet about demanding their attention, but he knew that Butch couldn't wait for his Grampie to return. And Prudence wanted to make sure that she wasn't left out of anything.
He was more proud of Hal than he could adequately express. His son had left two months ago a boy and returned a man. It was not only the increased height and deepened voice. He had grown in maturity. He had always been helpful around the house, but now he seemed to be even more patient with Butch and Prudence than he was. Admittedly, it did not take a whole lot of patience to do that. His relationship with Phoebe had grown in depth and his love for his littlest sister was evident in his words and actions.
He personally enjoyed the fact that he had not only acquired a lot of scientific knowledge that summer, but his emerging intellect made him a fascinating discussion partner. They had always had a lot to talk about, but now he was finding himself less in the role of instructor and more as an interlocutor. Hal could spend hours conversing intelligently about the latest developments in science and mathematics. Hal had grown in his confidence of his own ideas. He was going to make a fine scientist some day.
Butch remained intransigent when it came to science and school in general. It was difficult for him to join in their conversations or even understand them enough to listen. His obsession with baseball seemed to have completely gripped him. He seemed to think of nothing else. Now that he was no longer playing baseball he spent as much time as they would permit him watching it on television. And if he wasn't watching it, he was reading about it in the sports magazines that he spent all of his allowance on.
It seemed that even Phoebe couldn't get through to him. Ever since she had come, she had always been able to talk to him when something was bothering him. Finally she said that they should just wait until Dad came home and let him have a go at it. At least, he was doing a lot of reading. It bothered him that he wasn't reading real books, but Phoebe soothed him by saying that reading was reading and to let him be.
When Tuesday came, it would be an odd day. He couldn't even remember any other time in his life when he would not be starting school, either as a student or a teacher. It seemed that he had gone straight from graduate school into university teaching. But once the children left the house, it would just be the three of them at home: Phoebe, Maisie, and himself. He was immensely looking forward to it.
He was pleased that Phoebe had recovered the previous vigor that she had had before she had become pregnant. In fact, she had more vitality than she had had at any time since before the death of her parents. After nearly two years, her previous joie de vivre had returned. It was as if the birth of the next generation was finally truly helping the scars of the loss of the previous generation to heal. One night she opened up to him about it.
"You know," he had remarked. "I believe that there will be a striking resemblance between Maisie and Trelawney. Despite the fact that Maisie's features have not yet really formed, the similarity is already unmistakable."
Phoebe had glowed with her old, familiar gentle smile.
"Trelawney's resemblance to our mother grows with every passing year," she replied gently. "It will be a great comfort to look at my daughter and see my mother looking out at me on occasion."
"I like that thought," he said. "It will always be a great regret of mine that I did not have the opportunity to know your parents. They must have been exceptional people to have raised two such exceptional daughters."
Phoebe looked down at the little girl thoughtfully.
"And I will always regret that my daughter will never know the lovely woman whose name she bears," she said quietly.
"I didn't mean to make you sad," he answered when he saw her change in mood.
"Regret is not the same as sadness," she answered. "I will always find enormous joy in my daughter. She is God's greatest gift in my life. But it is not merely because of who her grandmother was and how alike they are. It is also because of who her father is and alike they are."
"And it is the combination of these disparate elements that make her a unique individual," he commented.
"Yes," she replied.
Hal recalled that sweet moment now with pleasure. In a few minutes he would give in to the demands of his younger children and walk with them up the street to his parents' house. He gave a shout up the stairs for the three kids to get ready. Before he knew it, there was the sound of pounding feet on the stairs and they were walking up the street for a family reunion. He decided that family time was one of life's greatest treasures. He was going to make full use of it every chance that he got.