My Daughter, the Psychic

I often inadvertently blurt out non sequiturs when trying to participate in Japanese conversations that I don’t fully understand. My daughter, on the other hand, sometimes exhibits an uncanny understanding of what’s going on around her. Take today, for example. When we arrived at the therapy room, I explained to Lilia’s therapist that her grandmother was visiting graves (something that people do at the change of the seasons) today so I had to drag along my son. I wasn’t signing or otherwise trying to include Lilia in the conversation, but she started pointing to the calendar on the wall. It looked like she was pointing to the red 21, which is Spring Equinox, and then she signed “dead grandfather” and “praying,” which is what you do when you visit the graves of dead relatives. It was really freaky. Understand that my daughter is deaf and can maybe distinguish between two familiar words if she is concentrating really hard and lipreading. She certainly doesn’t know the word “o-hakka-maeri.” I thought her grandmother must have explained to her in similar fashion that she would be visiting Grandfather’s grave, but when I asked her later, she said no. She said that yesterday Lilia wrote a letter to her grandfather and left it at his altar, and that she seemed to know that this was the sort of thing you do at this time of year. In my mother-in-law’s words, “Lilia knows things beforehand.”

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