By | August 6, 2023

I am trying to remember just when my 3-year-old son first started saying things like, “when I was big” or “when I was old.” I think it was just before his third birthday (he is now almost 4). I used to downplay his comments as those of an imaginative child. What made me listen more carefully to what he would say in conjunction with these lead-ins happened between Christmas and New Year’s this past year (1999). I’d taken the week off from work to be home with my 3 kids.

During that week, my son, whom I’ll call Noah, became fixated on an old photo album that we stumbled upon while decluttering the attic. As we flipped through the pages filled with faded images of family members, Noah’s eyes seemed to light up with recognition. He pointed to one particular photo and said, “That’s me when I was big!”

Intrigued, I asked him to elaborate, expecting another one of his imaginative stories. But what followed was nothing short of astonishing. Noah proceeded to describe in remarkable detail his life as a grown man in the early 1900s. He mentioned names, places, and events that were entirely unfamiliar to us. His words carried an air of certainty and conviction, leaving me both bewildered and captivated.

Over the next few days, Noah continued to share more snippets from his “past life” in a nonchalant manner, as if recounting a vivid memory from the recent past. He spoke about experiences that seemed well beyond his years, and his attention to historical accuracy was uncanny for a child his age.

One evening, as we sat by the fireplace, Noah pointed to an old pocket watch displayed on the mantle. With a hint of nostalgia, he said, “I had a watch like that when I was old, but it broke.” This revelation left us all speechless, as the pocket watch was a family heirloom, and Noah had never seen it before that moment.

As the days turned into weeks, I found myself torn between dismissing his stories as mere flights of fancy or considering the possibility of a deeper connection to the past. My husband and I decided to consult with experts in child psychology and spirituality, seeking guidance on how to handle this extraordinary situation with care and sensitivity.

Their advice was to embrace Noah’s expressions without judgment, allowing him the space to explore and articulate his feelings. We continued to listen attentively as he shared more about his past life, and over time, he seemed to find comfort in knowing that we were open to his experiences.

As the years have passed, Noah’s memories of his “past life” have gradually faded, and he has grown into a vibrant young boy with a vivid imagination. While we may never fully understand the origins of his curious statements, we cherish the precious moments when our imaginative little boy seemingly bridged the gap between two worlds, reminding us of the endless wonders that reside within the hearts and minds of children. And so, we embrace each day with an open heart, ready to embark on new journeys of discovery with our incredible son, Noah.

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