The Nugget Chronicles: Beyond the Door


That one word really sums up the last week and a half or so of our lives. After all, when a loved one unexpectedly passes away, it throws everything into chaos no matter what. Doubly so when said loved one lived all the way across the country. Which is why, in a flurry, we found ourselves leaving Minnesota and heading down to Texas. Thank goodness Nugget is such an amazing traveler, otherwise it would have been much trickier.

But this post isn’t about the upheaval we recently went through, and are still processing. No, instead this post is about a new game that Nugget started playing, and, thus far, only played down in Texas. In the house her grandfather lived in.

See, while we were preparing for Nugget to fill a role very similar to one I filled decades ago, we were also fully anticipating that she’d be learning new things. After all, she’s a mere 15 months old, which means that a lot of this is coming pretty rapid-fire for her right now. We weren’t surprised at all when she started babbling a couple of new words, being “hat” and “no”. Heck, I wasn’t even all that perturbed about “no”, since it provides a nice break from her regular litany of “up” (which means pick me up, set me down, let me grab that thing, I’m trying to watch my stories, I’m hungry, and a multitude of other things I haven’t figured out yet). It was the new game that she started playing, and seemingly enjoying, that was a little odd.

While we were at the house, Nugget decided that she was going to start wandering up to doors. This wasn’t a huge shock initially, as she’s not a fan of closed doors, because they often lead to one of her parents trying to have a little private time in the bathroom. So we expected that, even though everyone was out and visible, she was merely trying to find whoever was trying to perform a bodily function. Instead, we were greeted with Nugget knocking on a door, talking a bit, then putting her ear against it to listen. Then, she repeated the process.

We had never witnessed her do this before. The first thought was that she’d picked up the notion of knocking on doors while trick-or-treating, but that was quickly dispelled by the realization that she never actually made it to a closed door, and couldn’t have figured it out from that. So we were left perplexed, only to grow more so with the fact that she hasn’t repeated the same activity since we returned home.

Actually, I say “perplexed”, but that isn’t entirely true. See, I have a suspicion, as weird and paranormal and totally unrealistic as it might be. There’s a theory amongst many who believe in there being any sort of a spirit world that the veil is thinnest for children. Those individuals feel that ghosts may be the root of many imaginary friends, and that it is only because we are constantly told that these things “aren’t real”, that’s why we lose access to them. If that’s true, then it seems entirely possible that Nugget was playing a game through the door with her grandfather. She was clearly having a conversation with something, and, while I’m sure that there are perfectly explainable reasons why she only knocked on doors while inside his house, it’s also sort of comforting to think that she had a way of continuing to play with him. The two of them got along famously, and it isn’t too hard for me to picture him finally being able to get down to her level without creaking knees and a sore back, all to play a new game that the two of them alone would share.

Either that, or my daughter is preparing for a life as either a terrible spy, or in chatty door-to-door sales. I’d honestly rather she was talking to a ghost.


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